Jack Myers / poetry / The Portable Poetry Workshop Project

The Portable Poetry Workshop: Connecting Content – The Image Narrative

The image narrative: the “story told, in coherent form, through a series of the poem’s images and perceptions.” Jack offers the poem “Summer” by Cesar Pavese (the one who first spoke of a poem’s “image story”) along with “TV Room at the Children’s Hospice” by Michael Ryan as examples.

Segues and white space in a poem act as connectors of the images within the story on their many different levels. Jack offers the poem “Paper Bird” by Robin Behn as an incredible example of the use of white space. (If you haven’t read this poem, you must!) I think Behn’s poem “Living with Sister” stands as a wonderful example of both segue and white space as a technique within the image narrative:

“Living with Sister” by Robin Behn

On a side note, this particular section within this chapter had me chuckling to myself today. Jack asked me to read in class one day and the word “segue” was in the poem he chose. I had never come upon this word before and butchered its pronunciation. He waited patiently, not once trying to interrupt, and once I gave my final, what I thought was successful, utterance of the word, he smiled his kind smile, half grinning, and launched into a mini-lecture about what a segue does. I am sure the class was fond of me that day. I’ve never forgotten that word.

Well, and white space, that was a lecture he dedicated a full day to, and I had some sort of epiphany during that lecture resulting in my crafting of poems with words spaced out all over the page. Sporadic placement poems is what I shall now call them. It even inspired a poem I titled “White Space.” Jack got a kick out of it. He must have thought I was crazy.

To poetry and fine teachers, Andrea

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