Thursday, February 9, 2017

Poetry Friday

My OLW for 2017 is LOOK

Recently, a blog entry by Rebecca Newland, former LOC Teacher in Residence popped into my in-box. I love seeing LOC e-mails...and especially Ms. Newland's. I met her at a conference and was impressed by her power of story-telling backed up with primary source documents from her playground, The Library of Congress.

The Teacher's Corner post was titled,


After reading Newland's post, I jumped onto the LOC search engine with my OLW.

The photograph of this young man looking into a frame of President Lincoln and his family has a copyright of 1898.

I played around with some of the exercises suggested by Ms. Newland and came up with several poems from prompts and challenges over the past few weeks of Poetry Friday.  Thus far, I have poems for this image in these forms: haiku (always start with's like using a lens to see better), golden shovel, decima, reverso and free verse. I'm not sure how much more I will look at this image. But, I have a feeling it isn't done with me yet...and that's OK.

Focus the lens:


Family portrait
your kin held in this oval
mine in a fish net

When you ended it
Slavery – did you picture
me looking at you?

When he ended it
Bullet – to your head did you
count me family?

4. Chin resting on fists
a new generation looks
for family trees    

I may share more of the poems from my time with this image from time to time. For now, I'm enjoying some alone time with this photograph and the words that flow from looking at it.  

Thank you to Katie at The Logonaughts for hosting Poetry Friday today.


  1. The Library of Congress photo collection is fabulous! Childhood: Poems Inspired by the Photographs of Lewis Wickes Hine, uses photos from the LOC, as does my Kids of the Homefront Army: Poems of WW II America. The ability to access these images is a great joy to me. I love seeing others have discovered their magic, too! We are so lucky that our government preserves these materials for us. Thanks for the link to the LOC blogpost, too.

  2. Powerful photo and I love your matching haiku. I like the idea of starting with haiku to focus the lens before trying other forms.

  3. That is a powerful photo and haiku to go along with it. I like the idea of being inspired by a photo to write.

  4. Thanks for the inspiration, Linda. I love that you're exploring so many ways to respond to this picture, and love number four, "a new generation looks/for family trees."

  5. Quite an incredible photo -- enjoyed reading your poetic responses. Keep going!

  6. Those are powerful haiku to accompany that photo. Very timely to read these words.

  7. I've always been fascinated by old photographs - you just can't help but wonder who these people were, and reflect on their times and their lives. I've never thought of turning that fascination into poetry, though!

  8. I find it so interesting where you find your various poetic inspirations, Linda. You are one insatiable learner!

  9. Wow, Linda! What an amazing image, and your haiku really delve into what could be going through that young man's mind. I love using photos and paintings to inspire my poetry. Thank you for sharing the Teacher's Corner's post. I can't wait to check it out.

  10. This photo is so powerful and touching. I can see why you were inspired by it. Your haiku really do fit the photo. My favorite is: When you ended it/
    Slavery – did you picture/
    me looking at you? So thought-provoking!

  11. 'me looking at you'. Such a powerful yet innocent line. I too like to hug a secret, or a poem, to myself for a time...

  12. Fascinating photo, and I like your questions, the voice. Interesting to try writing to the photo in different forms. I think this could be a part of our end-of-year biography projects. LOOK, yes.

  13. An evocative image to start with. Looks like you are having fun with the poems too! Interesting voices coming from your poems, makes me think on about the character posing the questions.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!