Grow a Poet-Tree

Just a few snapshots from this weekend’s drop-in art and writing activity, “Grow a Poet-Tree” at PEM for the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.  Kudos to my intern Kate for drawing three beautiful trees for us to decorate with leaves of original and remembered poetry, illustration, and reflection.

Poets quoted included but were not limited to: ee cummings (the runaway favorite with at least 5 quotes on the trees), Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (the runner up in popularity, and not my fault), John Masefield (okay, that was my fault), and Shel Silverstein, with a hefty sprinkling of song lyrics (“Morning has Broken” for instance, though no “Amazing Grace”) and a few ad jingles thrown in.  Other messages included variations on a theme of ‘save the trees’ (clearly I do my work as an Art & Nature specialist thoroughly…), a lot of ‘I love you’s, and a few witty folk who wrote things like ‘This space intentionally left blank.’   I was most amused by the inclusion of text speak and hash-tags on several of the submissions, I think, but I was also impressed by the way some of the participants chose to address some fairly serious themes even in 2 square inches of space on a public bulletin board.

Greeting early poets and artists of all ages on Friday morning

A few of my favorite additions to the Poet-Tree forest, courtesy of PEM visitors and attendees of the Poetry Festival:

Child's Poem: Falling down, the leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down--KABOOM!

Forget asking about when a tree falls in the forest--apparently even these leaves make a noticeable auditory shock upon impact!

Responding to a photomanipulated image by artist Jerry Uelsmann from a current PEM exhibit--someone went to the ekphrastic workshop!

A fun illustration and a sweet poem about 'Fairy Tale Logic' (that participant was clearly my kind of whimsical!)

One of several #freeverse tags. Who says poetry isn't adapting to the 21st century?

My own addition to the tree, inspired by sitting in the Atrium and appreciating the greenhouse/sailboat effect of Moshe Safdie's glass roof.

The final product

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