People, Pages, and Pantoums
I lead a great workshop this weekend here at The Bishop’s Ranch. It was a wonderful weaving of words and images, to create both visual and verbal poetry. I worked with writer and poet Laurie Glover, and we took turns guiding the group. I had laid out bins of papers, books, photos, cards all kinds of visuals I have gathered over the years. I had everyone choose between 15-20 pieces, I encouraged them not to judge or plan just pick up what ever they were drawn to and not question it. Then they edited those down to 10 things. Laurie then led them through the first stages of writing the poem using the images as the starting point. She had everyone write a list of ten simple lines jumping from the images such as “I am a cloud”, or “I am the grass” then the list was rewritten with a verb and again with an adjective and then a prepositional phase. We wrote our list of lines right on the white paper covering the table to keep it from being too precious. We circled favorite lines then Laurie led us in arranging them in the pantoum form. A pantoum is a form that originated in fifteenth century Malaysia and prescribes a certain order and repetition of lines. Intermingled in writing of the poem I guided people through making the collage pages using some of the images gathered, adding, pockets, and curtains and embellishments to make a rich visual to go with the rich writing. Each person emerged with a 4-8 page accordion book of collage pages with an accompanying pantoum poem. It turned out to be a wonderful almost magical process. It was lovely to see each person’s poem book emerge. Above are some of the fourteen people gathered in a creative flurry this weekend, below are some of the books and pages that emerged. I wish you could see them in person. We plan to offer it again so maybe you can come next time!