Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from Across the East River

Transfiguration by Sandra Lee Schubert 2002

Creating Your Poetry

The word iconographer means "image writer", and comes from the Greek εικον (image) and γραφειν (to write). I have created three icons; two are small pieces done in the traditional method. The other icon follows the same concept of writing with an image, instead of traditional methods I used collage to create a visual poem in three pieces. The poem is represented as a triptych, each stanza is a panel.

The poem was in response to a class assignment on visual poetry and the tragedy of September 11, 2001.Thinking about what to do, I was reminded of the loss of icons on that terrible day. The images were of the World Trade Towers, the loss of our idea of power, America as a safe haven. I looked for photos and words that represented these iconic images in the newspapers and magazines. In creating the poem I wanted to rise above the tragedy and look for some of the bright spots.

The first panel has images from September 11, as well as, other images of tragedy from around the world. The middle panel is filled with iconic images, and the third panel offers hope.

The words of the poem contrast against the images. The first panel full of tragic images has LOVE as it foundation. The second panel of iconic images has the title of the poem and the word HEALS as it foundation. The second panel is the center and the transforming bridge between the first and third panels. The third panel has hopeful images and has the word HATE as its foundation. The word hate here is redemptive but reminds us of what needs to be transformed.

The poem is simple.

Love Heals Hate

The collage uses images to flesh out the power of the words. Making the poem and icon reminded me of icons being written as prayers. The creating of an icon is a sacred act and the creating of the poem was a sacred and healing act for me.

Using images to create poetry is another way of using words in a creative way. If you are a visual person like I am linking words to images is something you naturally want to do.

Combining images as writing may not be something you would immediately think about. My journal is a combination of just straight journal writing and images that I collect and paste into my journal. Sometimes words are not sufficient and the images help to tease out the emotions or thoughts.

You can use images as storyboards for poetry, fiction pieces, or plays. The time looking for photos and arranging them into a visual display can be meditative. Use the process to reveal and express yourself in a new way.

I treasure my icon poem, it represents an emotion that was too powerful for me to express successfully in words.

Sandra's e-course leads people to be their creative best through telling their stories and talking to interesting people on her online radio show- Wild Woman Network: Radio for Creative Vagabonds, Thinkers and Innovators. 
She is a creative vagabond, a poet, and a writer who co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her sandraleeschubert(at) or
@writing4life via twitter.

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