Writing poetry in high school was not something I did, even though it was, and still is, common for many teenagers to do. However, I loved English class where Miss Sadley taught us to read and write poetry using all the rules and regulations. I wanted to soak up everything in that class.
I planned to be a writer since I was in grammar school and kept trying as an adult to get to a class to further my study, yet something always blocked my way. Poetry was not my goal. When I began attending the International Women’s Writing Guild annual conferences I took a class in poetry and got hooked. It was very different from high school poetry. The late Judi Beach’s class was an automatic choice after that first time. Then I fell into Marj Hahn’s poetry & art class and loved that particular marriage of creativity.
When I met the poet Thomas Park in Warrenton, NC we, including Sherman Johnson, put together a combined art & poetry presentation at the library. Artists held their work, mostly abstract, and the poet stood next to the artist and read the poetry written about their work. The librarian displayed the art and relevant, matted poetry, alongside it in the library for over a month. I still particularly enjoy writing poetry about art. Paintings have such stories shouting out from the canvas, stories understood differently by various people, stories just waiting to be told. Art and objects play important roles in our lives that we don’t always notice.
I especially enjoy having my writers’ groups compose work about abstract art because we all come up with widely contrasting pieces. We relate differently to the art because we each come from various backgrounds and experiences. I just love the differences in us as people.