Painting Poems: Tuesday Tryouts

08 Nov

8:01 a.m. — Atlanta

Hanging in there, everyone? With so many people gearing up for various holidays, I shall try to keep the prompts light for the next few weeks. Below, you see Edward Hopper’s Cape Cod. Click on it for a larger view.

You can go one of two ways here, depending which is the most stress free for you. If looking at the painting and responding to it in a poem is for you the way to go, go for it.

If being left stranded without guidance gives you the hives, keep reading.

Character Sketch:

Pick one of the people. List everything you observe about the person. Look for details: physical, clothing, body language, background, other people . . . Don’t draw conclusions yet.

Now, from the list of facts, spend several minutes writing what you think your person is like as a person, their character traits, based on what you observe.

What does this person look like s/he might be or do?

Write sketches introducing your character in two or three of the following ways:

through his/her own inner monologue
through two people discussing him/her in his/her absence
through a dialogue between him/herself and another person
show him/her interacting with the dog
describe the possessions s/he values
describe his/her hands and the way s/he uses them

or, Story:

Jot down everything you notice. Don’t miss the tiniest detail. Don’t draw conclusions yet. Now jot down the things you associate with some of the things you have noticed. See if anything forms a pattern. Tell the story behind the painting. Or, speak as the artist about the painting.

With either you may do the response in the form of a narrative sketch or a poem. Or, as with the haibun, both.

I shall see you Friday for the roundup of this week’s prompts; and next Tuesday for another fairly stress free exercise.

Happy writing and weekend, everyone.


Posted by on 08/11/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , ,

18 responses to “Painting Poems: Tuesday Tryouts

  1. vivinfrance

    08/11/2011 at 8:48 am

    Rockwell is one of my favourite painters. The picture suggests fiction to me, but this might take a while, specially with PAD and the fact that we’re travelling tomorrow all day. I’ll get there – eventually.

  2. vivinfrance

    08/11/2011 at 8:51 am

    Why did I say Rockwell? Probably because I love the both of them, and for the reasons that their work always stimulates my imagination. But you knew I meant Hopper – I make too many of these sort of mistakes!

    • margo roby

      08/11/2011 at 9:09 am

      I did know, Viv. And I may post a Rockwell in the next few weeks. His paintings have so much in them it would be fun to have some sort of treasure hunt!

      Good to hear from you. I had just been thinking that things were awfully quiet from your end, when there you are. Even if I hear from you minus a poem, I am happy to hear from you.


  3. tmhHoover

    08/11/2011 at 9:40 am

    I began with the second and third line falling instantly into the keypad. The rest came a bit more slowly. As you might imagine images are a well spring of inspiration for me- imagine a photographer who likes images…

    Here is my piece -

    Thanks Margo— It is time for breakfast!

    • margo roby

      08/11/2011 at 9:46 am

      Teri — I laughed when I read your last line. I wrote the post before going for my breakfast.

      Now, I shall go over and read your poem [I love using images as inspiration. Some of my favourite poems have been written from images.]


  4. Mike Patrick

    08/11/2011 at 11:39 am

    The couple in the painting look so much like my mother and father, this one was easy–in some ways. Harder in others.

    • margo roby

      08/11/2011 at 11:43 am

      mmmm. I know what you mean, Mike. Heading over now.


    • tmhHoover

      09/11/2011 at 12:20 pm

      Mike- as i just stated over on you blog I really liked your poem. But I thought I would add one more comment here. Since I have only been writing a short while I wanted to comment on your statement-“this one was easy- in some ways. Harder in others.”

      I have harder time shoehorning my thoughts into prompts that have stylistic patterns or exacting guild lines. But have also found those type of prompts invaluable for helping me focus on the high school and college writing skills that I did rather poorly in.

      The harder part in writing what is close to your heart is that it exposes bits that have been sitting tidily in a corner. But my corners are so full that writing them out has been a real blessing.

      I am glad for all Margo’s prompts and the wonderful people here.

  5. Janet

    08/11/2011 at 11:55 am

    This picture is worth a thousand stories, but I wrote the one which came to me instantly..

    • margo roby

      08/11/2011 at 12:15 pm

      Wow! This picture is drawing such fast responses! Heading over to read yours, Janet.


  6. Jess

    08/11/2011 at 8:47 pm

    Mine’s pretty simple, but it’s what popped into my head first.

    • margo roby

      10/11/2011 at 7:51 am

      Some of my favourite poems are the ones that pop into my head, Jess 🙂


  7. vivinfrance

    09/11/2011 at 2:41 am

    I’m not awfully happy with this snippet of fiction, too much tell and not enough show, but I haven’t time to try and sort it.

  8. Mary

    09/11/2011 at 8:59 am

    Hi Margo….this was a fascinating picture to think about. Here is the poem I came up with:

    Thanks for the prompt!

  9. Inventing Lloyd

    09/11/2011 at 9:38 am


    I did not realize Painting Poems was from your blog. It is a splendid concept and I cant wait to try them out my self.

    • margo roby

      09/11/2011 at 10:06 am

      Thank you kindly, Robert. I have enjoyed the results from this so much and look forward to seeing what you come up with.


  10. wordsandthoughtspjs

    09/11/2011 at 8:11 pm

    Margo, I am putting your prompts, (now three of them aside), until I have time to get to them. I love this painting. I am so short on time right now. I am trying to keep up with PAD, oy vey! Also, now two prompts behind there, 🙂


  11. margo roby

    10/11/2011 at 7:45 am

    Hey, Pamela! I’ll have to rethink prompts during November and April! And, probably December. Don’t worry. I shall miss you though, so pop over and say Hi every now and then. And, you do know that you can post your poems months later if that’s what happens, yes?

    Now I am off to contemplate your prompt for WWP. I like it 🙂



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