Friday, November 21, 2008

Poetry Friday - Not Exactly a Poem

It's the French surrealist painter Rene Magritte's birthday today and I can't resist posting this photo (by Bill Brandt) of the painter holding one of his own paintings. The image has nothing to do with poetry, unless you think about how indirect poetry is - how a pipe is not a pipe. And how a poem is like a mirror, yet is not a mirror. And how like a spiral a poem can be, coming back on itself. And how a good poem reveals something new every time you read it. And how form follows content. And how near-repetition - in the case of a poem, that's rhyme - plays on our senses. And how a poem is comfortable with uncertainty. And how a poem casts a shadow someplace unexpected. And how a poem tells the truth, and how a poem lies. And how open to interpretation any good poem is.

Other than that, the photo has nothing to do with poetry.

The people over at Brimstone Soup are hosting today's Poetry Friday. I think. They might be busy with their November Novels. 5000 words a day for a month can leave you pretty exhausted.

I found another photo to post - this one is also by Bill Brandt, and it's a photo of Bill Brandt. Notice how he only lets one eye show, and lets the camera lens stand in as his other eye? Seems to me that artists always find a tool outside themselves to look through. For a poet, words serve the purpose of a camera lens, no?


  1. Julie, you're one of my favorite places to visit on Poetry Friday. Always something intriguing and witty and mind-bending. "How a poem casts a shadow someplace unexpected." Yes! Thanks for the jolt today.

  2. ce n'est pas une poésie… à moins qu'il soit

    (if my babel fish is correct, since i studied german). what an excellent idea, the photo-poem.

  3. Sorry, Julie, - Mr. Linky crashed my blog post! Come on over and post your link.

  4. All the things a poem (and not-quite-poem) can be: a humbling, inspiring vision for aspiring poets. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. David - Poesie ist, was in der Übersetzung verloren ist. [I think.] Bill Brandt was definitely a photographer-poet - I'm going to add an equally strange and wonderful self-portrait of Brandt to the blog today. Ich sehe Sie im Januar!

    Thanks, Sara and Jennifer. This Poetry Friday thing (the sharing) is turning out to be such fun. I'm always intrigued by the original work posted by brave souls each week and by the reviews and links to other people's poems. Lots of poetry-lovers out there, maybe?

  6. :) That's such a coolly bizarre picture, I always love to look at it. And I agree -- a poem is uncomfortable with uncertainty, and its very discomfort is what kind of ...makes it. Certainly makes it easier to tell both that truth and the lie, anyway. Like this.

  7. "Other than that, the photo has nothing to do with poetry." In other words, maybe it has everything to do with poetry. Great post.

    Thanks for commenting on my Wallace Stevens post. Since I started working on picture books, I find myself drawn to some of the shorter Stevens poems. "The Emperor Of Ice Cream," what a picture book that would be.

  8. I think you've nailed it here. I am greatly enjoying those photo-poems. Black and White was my theme for November too, until I dropped my camera. sigh. Glad to be placed in the student seat under Rene Magritte today.