Friday with Friends: Using An Image to Create A Poem – Frank Prem

Using An Image to Create A Poem

I’ve been thinking a lot, recently, about how to convey the art of giving life to an image through words.

I am a storyteller and my medium is free-verse poetry. In recent times, I have been doing a lot of writing that is in partnership with an image. My intention is to have the image – the voice of the image – driving the poem. I should probably provide an example of what I’m on about. I recently took a photo of two birds on the wing. It was a bad day in the world – rotten things happening, a storm was imminent, and two birds were flying. Here they are:

I try to make it my business to write every day and this image – on that day – spoke to me. Here is the poem:

go (my love) let’s go

my love
let’s fly away

across the face
of the creeping
storm

you and I
alone
against
the sky

hail
and rain

lightning
wind

I hear the thunder
rolling

rolling
over everything . . .

everyone
before it

but we –
you and I –
we
can fly

faster
than any storm
can roll

my love . . .

my love
let’s go

~

Nothing special, but picking up on:

· The mood of the day.
· General despondency arising from local and world news etc.
· Covid misery.
· An approaching storm.
· Two birds (Sacred Ibis) flying before the storm.
· One bird leading the other.

The poem attempts to capture all of those things in the voice of the leading bird. Or so I assume from my own reading of the poem.

I find that most pictures really do tell a story. I’ll show another. In this case I had encountered a native orchid (the common bird orchid) on a ramble up onto a local mountain. Native orchids are a treat to find at any time, but this one in particular had a highly suggestive peculiarity – apparently common to all flowers in the species. I bet you see it immediately.

Here is the image:

I wanted to use this image for my next poem, and it could have gone a couple of different ways. I’m thinking of frogs, oysters, and teenage rebellion in the range of choices. Why?

· Frog – that yawning gape looks like it might have a tongue ready to unfurl, legs set to leap.
· Oyster, because that may just be a pearl.
· Rebellious teenager because . . . just because really.

Here is the poem:

the pretty (llurp)

YAAAAAHH!

wot you lookin’
at

lllurp-llurp
llurp

jus coz
I’m
a flower . . .

llurp

don’t mean
I can’t have . . .

llurp

bit
o’attitude

llurp llurp

wot?

llurp

’m jus . . .

playin’

llurp

wif
m’ stud

leave me . . .

llurp

‘lone
why dontcha

~

Clearly, I find images suggestive and, in writing, it is my wish to convey something of what I’ve seen, or heard, to a reader. To make my perception available to a random someone else.

So what goes in to an image interpretation. I’ll choose a fresh picture that I haven’t yet written about and explore a few possible part-answers.

Here is the image:

First question -not what is it, but what does it look like.

· Insect eggs
· Pupae
· Bugs, flies, wasps.

My sense is of living creatures in a state of suspension of some sort.

· If the primary object could speak, what would it sound like?
· Does it speak? What might it want to say to you (observer, writer, reader)

What will the next thing to happen be (if we had a subsequent image)?

· Emergence from the cocoon/egg.
· One at a time
· Many

And then?

· Swarm
· Squadron

After that . . .

· I’m not sure, but
· Let the initial writing response set up the subsequent possibilities

That’s as far as I think I can go with brainstorming this particular image. What I am confident of, though, is that if the image suggests a beginning, and perhaps a middle, the act of writing (capturing) those ideas will suggest the ending.

What do you think? I haven’t written the poem/story to go with this picture. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you want to know what the image is of? It is a variety of quaking grass gone to seed. That is another point perhaps worth making. Every picture tells a story. It isn’t necessary to go a long way from home to find inspiration of this kind.

I’ve put out a number of books, now, in what I have taken to referring to as picture poetry. The common feature of all of them is that I allow the images to speak to me. Feel free to peek inside.

Beechworth Bakery Bears Books

· The Beechworth Bakery Bears – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091886W4X
· Waiting For Frank-Bear- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09KG4Q8K6

Trash and Treasure

· Voices (In The Trash) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08WYKCVMP

My Locale (Beechworth, Victoria (Australia))

· A Lake Sambell Walk – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09J1WKYF4

World War 1 (The Somme and Western Front)

· Sheep On The Somme – https://www.amazon.com/Sheep-Somme-World-Picture-Poetry/dp/1925963144

~~~

About Frank Prem

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet for more than forty years, and has spent his working life in various parts of the public psychiatry system in Victoria (Australia).

He has been published in magazines, e-zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as ‘spoken word’.

He and his wife live in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North East of Victoria.

Frank has published several collections of free verse poetry –

Small Town Kid (2018)
Devil In The Wind (2019)
The New Asylum (2019)
Herja, Devastation (with Cage Dunn) (2019)
Walk Away Silver Heart (2020)
A Kiss for the Worthy (2020)
Rescue and Redemption (2020)
Pebbles to Poems (2020)

As well as Picture-Poetry books –

A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-Book (2020)
A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-Book (too) (2020)
Voices (In The Trash) (2021)
The Beechworth Bakery Bears (2021)
Sheep On The Somme (2021)
Waiting For Frank Bear (2021)
A Lake Sambell Walk (2021)

Key Contacts for Frank Prem:

Author Page (Newsletter sign up): https://FrankPrem.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Frank Prem Poet and Author YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvfW2WowqY1euO-Cj76LDKg

Follow this link to read Frank’s Meeting the Author’s interview …

Meet the Author: Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

A gripping story that begins in 1714 France, traveling throughout the world, landing in 2014 New York, and ending in 2016 London. I absolutely loved this book, the characters, having a hard time putting the book down. In 1714 when Adeline Larue was faced with being forced to live a life she did not want to live, she made a grave mistake. She lives the effect of this mistake for three hundred years until one day in 2014 New York, everything changes. Absolutely enjoyable read!

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

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Meet the Author: Breaking Birds by Hayley Mitchell

Today we travel to Colchester to chat with Hayley Mitchell about how a small desk, Rocky, a meerkat, The Notebook, a chameleon, Captain Planet, monkeys, Greek Mythology, and being a mom to three boys come together as part of Hayley’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Wow! Fiction is much easier to write than biography. What to say about me? Can I cheat? Here’s my character description ..

It was a typically grey and drizzly winters day in Colchester. As Hayley looked out of the window she thought again that if you’re going to hail from the setting for a reality/non-reality TV show, there had to be better options than Essex. Besides, her life was far from the glamour of The Only Way is Essex, more like The Only Way is any way you can get though the day! Then that was the life with boys; three boys. Noisy, exhausting, often overwhelming and without doubt absolutely wonderful.

Life was manic but motherhood certainly gave scope for plenty of inspiration, after all, that’s how she started writing. Hayley smiled as she thought of the first children’s book she had written, shortly after her eldest was born. Feeling nostalgic, she picked up her IPad, thinking perhaps she’d write something new.
“Mum! I need a poo!”

Well, maybe she’d get time to write tonight, she thought. Duty calls.

In which genre do you write?

I started writing children’s books, publishing Charlie Bear Won’t go to Sleep, not long after my first child was born. He was a terrible sleeper so it was written at about 3am. Several more children’s books followed, enough to ensure all three of my boys had a dedicated book each and more.
Recently I branched into poetry, very much as a cathartic process to offload some pent up emotions. This then led to a psychological thriller in poetic verse. I tend to follow inspiration, which is largely dictated my my mood, so the genre changes according to how I feel at the time; I’m not sure what sort mood I was in when I wrote Breaking Birds!

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

Probably a Meerkat. I’ve always been described as very scatty. I am extremely eager and enthusiastic, throwing myself out there with a passion, but then quite often duck down or retreat when things start to take off. Yes, I’ve got the nervous energy of a meerkat, with perhaps the adaptability of a chameleon. A Meermeleon?

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Small. That is if we’re describing my actual desk, which is a little cubby hole built into the corner of my bedroom. In honesty writing usually takes place on my iPad or phone, in fits and bursts around parenting and the rest of life. More often than not, inspiration strikes in the middle of the night, whereby I’ll be scrawling on a notepad or typing on my phone, half hidden under a duvet.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

Rocky! I absolutely love the Rocky films and Eye of The Tiger is first on my running playlist. Such a great story of the underdog beating all odds, it never fails to motivate me. I also love the story behind it, of how Stallone wrote the screenplay and insisted he star in it, despite little interest from production companies. A real case of life imitating art.

Badly explain your hobby.

I bend myself into compromising positions whilst listening to whales moaning about the price of fish.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The Notebook. I don’t know how I’ve gone this long without watching it, but I was in the mood for a good cry and it didn’t disappoint.

What cartoons did you watch as a child?

Count Duckula. He Man. Mask. Captain Planet.
I still know the theme tunes as well, not to sound old or anything, but they don’t make them like they used to!

Which would you choose? Penguins or monkeys?

Monkeys-it’s a tough one as if you’d ask me to name my favourite animals these are always my top two, but monkeys are so fascinating. Other than their strange tendency to eat their own poop they really are amazing animals.

How handy are you when it comes to fixing things?

If it can be held with blutac then I’m your girl. I have zero DIY skills. My hubby is quite a craftsman (and a perfectionist) so he does the majority of the DIY although I do the painting. One of my New Years Resolutions is going to be to try and decorate the house though, so prepare for some serious TIkTok failures!

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Why must you chase squirrels?
Did you really enjoy the contents of that nappy?
Where shall we go today?

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

After six months of saving I’ve just bought myself a campervan/MPV! I’m so excited to get out in it and have big plans… driving half hour down the road, pulling up by the coast and working on my writing. It will only be a few hours until nursery and school pick ups, but it is going to be the most chilled, perfect me time I’ve had in a while.

What are you currently working on?

I’m just about to publish a short, light hearted take on Greek Mythology. It’s the story of Theseus as retold via text messages. It’s a fun, easy read-very different from the dark vibes of Breaking Birds, but great fun to write.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Breaking Birds is a psychological thriller written entirely in poetic verse. I knew I wanted to write a novel in verse. I’d been enjoying writing poetry (often free verse) and the idea of writing a novel in poetry really appealed to me. The format suits me so well; with little time to dedicate to writing, I was able to write a poem here and there, in the odd five minutes of calm in my hectic house! Likewise I hope readers can pick it up when they have a spare minute, as in know we rarely get enough time to sit and read as we might like (though of course I hope, once you start that you can’t put it down!)

The story itself came from a desire to go against instinct. With a poetic novel I initially thought romance, so, being me, I decided to go against the grain and make it a dark, thriller instead. Once I started writing it was very organic, I didn’t force myself to write but just allowed each poem to come naturally-to use a cliche, the book practically wrote itself!

It was wonderful having you on MTA, and learning more about you, Hayley. Wishing you much success, and all the best! – Camilla

Where can we purchase the book?

https://books2read.com/u/bxQn2D

Connect with Hayley:

https://hayleymitchell.weebly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Mylittlebearbooks/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hayley-Mitchell/e/B00QL8QAR2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/H.M-Roberts/e/B091TVYTRF%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: A Memoir of the Craft – On Writing by Stephen King

A Memoir of the Craft – On Writing by Stephen King

This had been on my “to read” list for years! It did not disappoint.

This quote from the book hooked me from the beginning, “This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit.” And, “Omit needless words.” Ouch! I’m a wordy writer. It was good for me to see these two sentence in close proximity!

Happy to have finally read this one.

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

“Disclosure: This website is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.”

Meet the Author: Now You’re the Artist … Deal With It by Lee Benson

Today we travel to West Midlands in the UK to chat with Lee Benson about how shyness, being a gallery owner, painting in watercolours, Casablanca, playing the piano, Coventry City, a newly plastered ceiling, gardening, mentoring teens, and orang-utans come together as part of Lee’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Halesowen West Midlands UK. I have a weekly radio show on Black Country xtra Called listen with lee. It’s available in the Black Country radio app.

How many published books do you have?

I have published 30 books so far. My first children’s book came out in 2000 followed by a second in 2002 then a good while later some more and in 2016 I had my first novel published. Now there are 11 children books, three novels for adults and a ghostly novella, plus several discographies of famous bands in conjunction with Andrew Sparke. I am most proud of my seven poetic collections which really are my take on the world with help from my hero Spike Milligan.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Interesting question, I’m known for being loud and able to speak in front of many crowds. But in reality, given my large over six foot frame, I am quite a shy person. In my novels you do not know the name of the gallery owner and in my latest book a musician says to me in a pub in Plymouth “I didn’t quite catch your name”, I replied “I didn’t give it”.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I don’t have an ideal place, occasionally I will sit using my iPhone notes app, be it on the bus, sitting in a park or sitting on a couch, I concentrate on editing in front of a computer as I have to enlarge the words and meticulously go through it all as am somewhat dyslexic. My computer is in my music room, so if I get distracted, I will go to the piano and play away then return to write feeling refreshed. Not always. An odd drop of whiskey or a glass of wine helps.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

‘Now you’re the artist deal with it’ actually is more or less true with a lot of imagination thrown in for good measure. I always wanted to be an artist since a young age, but being a first born, that somehow wasn’t the done thing, however having worked in the art world for over thirty years with the last fourteen owning my own gallery, I decided to take a leap and paint in watercolours. My rules of looking after staff was maintained throughout, but in the book I break the rules. Told you imagination is good fun.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

This has to be Casablanca, I know every word and every scene, it never fails to make me want to see it again. In one of my children stories I added a scene where Humphrey Bogart in African Queen mode looks up at the sky and sees an egg flying by, just the way my mind works!!

Can you play a musical instrument?

I do play the piano, having been taught from age 7 but to be honest, I really didn’t enjoy all the scales and developed my own sort of blues style to amuse myself and then one day I showed my tutor who was astounded as he had no idea how to play like that.

Then at fifteen I had jazz syncopation lessons by a chap who used to have an affair with some woman next door whilst I was practicing, I must put that in a book one day. Then from the tender age of 18 I left home and played piano around Europe and the Middle East to pay for food etc. that was fun.

At the age of 24, I joined a group with moderate commercial success, however my real claim to fame was as a co writer for the song for Coventry City back in the eighties and played it live on Blue Peter gaining a real Blue Peter badge from the one and only Biddy Baxter herself (She was the producer of the show). Coventry went on to win the FA cup against Spurs and as far as I know they still play the song when they score a goal. Shame I don’t receive any royalties!! I came out of musical retirement in my sixties and started playing again. Terrifying!

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Wow. How long have you got? I love my garden and spend lots of time in it, my wife sews the seeds in the potting shed, and I do the rest, I love getting my hands into the soil. It’s a real grounding, and as its a large garden, we have had several covid safe meet ups in it and everyone loves the garden, which is so satisfying.

A romantic touch, when we were viewing the property I said to my fiancé, we could get married in this garden, something the owners heard, and that was the reason we were able to purchase as six others wanted the house. Nice eh!

I also am the creative director of a children’s charity and help mentor teens in the big world of ours using artistic methods to enable them to feel better about themselves. We also worked with special needs adults and dementia sufferers and just completed project called Remember me.

Have you ever had any “Do It Yourself” disasters?

Many years ago, when I was renovating a lovely victorian house, I accidentally banged a nail right through a heating pipe. The flow was stemmed by me holding my finger on the hole for an hour. I managed to gain my younger daughters attention and told her to ring my plumber friend on the mobile. All instructions completed and he turned up an hour later to stop the flow. And then once I hit my head on the rafters and fell through the newly plastered ceiling. Not only that, but I then took my leg out the hole unbalanced and fell through another part, what an expensive re plastering. What a twit!

What is the most enjoyable aspect you’ve found through writing?

I feel like I vanish into a different world and write from within the story. It actually can be exhausting. For example, in one chapter, I drive to Scotland, set up an exhibition, plenty of partying hard, then work a four day show and eventually drive home after packing it all away. I was mentally and physically exhausted afterwards and all I did was sit and write the chapter.

With my poetry, I sometimes don’t realise I’ve written it down so when I read it out later I am quite astonished with the result, recently my poetry has been uploaded and performed on the authorpeida podcasts and the chap seems to love my style, I am truly humbled.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself?

Actually I go very quiet. This stems from way back when I was in a band, before a gig I would just sit in a corner and avoid everyone till walking on stage, The same goes to reading and performing, be it in a restaurant, an after dinner speech or just performing in a group performance. Don’t eat chocolate before talking and do not drink alcohol beforehand, it does not help. Those moments of calm before performing ground you, it clears the air, then hey presto off you go, and the next minute it’s all over.

Badly explain your hobby.

I sit down on my fold up chair. I look at the view for quite a while, then I squeeze tubes of colour and smear them with a wet brush over the paper. Voila.

Monkeys or penguins.

I love orang-utans. Not exactly monkeys and am writing a children’s tale about the human destruction of borneo with sunbeams and orang-utans suffering. As the saying goes, Save planet earth.

What are you currently working on?

A story about living beside a person with bi polar. My brother was severely bipolar and the book will be called ‘I didn’t shoot Bob Dylan? Did I ?’ There are tragic and incredibly funny incidents in something which a lot of us do not know enough about.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Now you’re the artist deal with it completes the trilogy from gallery owner to artist, with lots of wine crazy folk and everything you don’t expect to happen in the art world. The cover represents a model who on entering the loo in the study finds a rat. Actually a gerbil and screams from the top of the seat.

It was wonderful to have you on MTA and to learn more about you, Lee! Wishing you all the best, with much success! – Camilla

Where to purchase the book:

Amazon
Lee’s website: https://andrewsparke.com/lee-benson/
Lee’s Amazon page

Connect with Lee:

Facebook: lee’s books
linked in and twitter: @leebenson55
instagram: lee_benson_author
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf2JQYq0B2M0o8LWQfkyrnA

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  • If interested, buy the book and leave a review

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host