Word Painting from Paintings: Tuesday Tryouts

06 Dec

7:23 — Atlanta

Another early morning here. The day ahead looks fraught, frenzied, and frazzling, so talking to all of you first, takes the rest of the day off my mind. How is everyone? Do you even have to ask, you say. It’s December 6th. I know. Although, having said that, I have worked on more poetry in the last six days than all of November. So, maybe frazzled is good.

I keep coming up with prompts over which I am excited because I know many of you will enjoy them, and then telling myself there is no use using them before January. Sigh. I’ll be glad when we are back to normal, or as normal as our lives get.

I am going to give you three Hopper paintings. You enjoyed the first so much. Even if all you have time for is to stare at the paintings for a few minutes, how nice is that?

Nighthawks by Hopper

Conference by Hopper

Chop-suey by Hopper

Either, choose your favourite, or look for a commonality you wish to write about. Ignore the captions. For the moment these paintings are yours. Or, use the captions to spark something.

By now, most of you know how the guidelines for this type of prompt go, so I am giving you a link to the post with the first Hopper painting we worked with. If you responded generally last time, you may wish to follow one of the more guided suggestions. If you followed one of the more structured suggestions last time, you may wish to respond to a scene, without strictures.

Remember to stop and breathe in the next few weeks. If you are feeling particularly harried, stop whatever you are doing and put yourself outside whatever is happening for a few moments. Doing this not only regenerates energy, but also generates scenes for writing about. You become a Hopper looking at a scene that you wish to paint with words. Before you dive back into the frenzy, jot some notes, or take a photograph to remind you later…in January.

I shall see you Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for the last of the Tuesday Tryouts before I go dark for the season [about two weeks]. Even if you don’t get a poem posted, remember that you can write and post at anytime.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 06/12/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , ,

28 responses to “Word Painting from Paintings: Tuesday Tryouts

  1. On My Square

    06/12/2011 at 8:21 am

    Nighthawks is one of my favorites, every time I visit the Art Institute I spend several minutes in front of it.

    • margo roby

      06/12/2011 at 8:26 am

      The colours alone keep me in front of Hopper works. I’m jealous. I would love to be able to wander into a gallery… I must check. Now that we are settled here, I need to find a gallery, or two.


  2. vivinfrance

    06/12/2011 at 9:01 am

    And I say thank God for the Internet, that never closed gallery – where we can find anything we want on tap, poems, pictures, music. My poem is here, and I too chose Nighthawks.

  3. pmwanken

    06/12/2011 at 2:50 pm

    margo…love these pictures. i also chose “nighthawks” but am thinking i will come back for more! 😉

    • margo roby

      06/12/2011 at 2:57 pm

      Hey, lady! Looks like Nighthawks is the popular favourite!

      • pmwanken

        06/12/2011 at 3:40 pm

        stay tuned…i’m back for more and will post to the same entry as my first picture… 🙂

  4. wordsandthoughtspjs

    06/12/2011 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Margo, I simply love “Chop-suey” by Hopper. I going to write something in the next day or two. I actually finished a poem today for We Write Poems this week, which in itself is a miracle. 🙂 I see you have snow on your blog as well. I do too, I love to live precariously through the people up north.


    • margo roby

      06/12/2011 at 9:33 pm

      I love the snow! I hate when they turn it off.

      I am glad you are taking on ‘Chop-suey’ Pam. It’s such fun. I’ll look forward to your poem.


  5. wordsandthoughtspjs

    06/12/2011 at 6:27 pm

    *I am*, I must improve my typing skills, 😉

    • margo roby

      06/12/2011 at 9:34 pm

      You noticed? At this time of year? I’m impressed 😉 I’m not sure my English teacher radar would pick it up this month.


  6. irene

    07/12/2011 at 8:00 pm

    Nice series, Margo. I did the chop suey one.

    while waiting for chop suey

  7. The Happy Amateur

    08/12/2011 at 11:04 am

    Hello, Margo and everyone,
    I learned about your blog from Marie Elena’s ‘Poetic Bloomings’, read your interview, very interesting!
    I loved the paintings. I think my favorite one is ‘Chop-suey.’ This is my attempt:

    She looks so thin, and tired.
    “Couldn’t sleep,” she says,
    “I need to talk to you,”
    She wouldn’t meet my eyes.

    “I think there is another
    Woman…please, I want
    To say it now, before
    I change my mind again.

    He’s grown distant, quiet,
    Something’s wrong,” she says,
    “Please, tell me now, sis,
    I need to know the truth.”

    She’s so afraid to know,
    And yet she won’t turn back.
    We’re never coming back
    To this cafe again.

    Thank you,

    • margo roby

      08/12/2011 at 11:10 am

      Welcome, Alexandra, and how lovely to start with a poem. I like the thought of the pair being sisters and the intensity of their body language makes your conversation poem work.


      • The Happy Amateur

        08/12/2011 at 7:45 pm

        Thank you for the warm welcome and encouragement!

    • vivinfrance

      10/12/2011 at 1:56 am

      You have made a compelling story about this painting. Margo’s had agreat idea to give us such wonderful material to spark our poetry. I really like yours, and hope we see you here again.

      • The Happy Amateur

        10/12/2011 at 7:56 pm

        Thank you! I’m just discovering the world of blogging, and it’s all very exciting! I love it. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, take care,

  8. b_y

    08/12/2011 at 11:54 am

    Love the Hoppers, Margo. I didn’t do them justice, but enjoyed the writing, nonetheless.

    • margo roby

      08/12/2011 at 12:14 pm

      I admit, Barb, I am curious to see what you consider not doing them justice, as I don’t think I have read anything of yours that isn’t somewhere on the scale of good to great.


  9. wordsandthoughtspjs

    08/12/2011 at 4:22 pm

    Margo, I remember studying Hopper in university, and what many art scholars saw in his paintings. This particular one has always stuck with me. Thanks for the prompts. 🙂


    “The Opposite of Me”

    • margo roby

      08/12/2011 at 5:01 pm

      Pamela, thank you for your support. I love your visits.


  10. Mary

    09/12/2011 at 10:21 pm

    Margo, I am late responding to this. I love the Hopper paintings and I came up with a poem in respond to “Chop Suey,” which is MY personal favorite:

  11. margo roby

    10/12/2011 at 10:31 am

    Remember, Mary? No such thing as late. Only that fewer readers might be lucky and read your poetry.


  12. irene

    10/12/2011 at 9:56 pm

    Ok I’m late, and not, since I so wanted to write to the Nighthawks painting too.

    After dark, in a New York diner

    • margo roby

      11/12/2011 at 8:50 am

      Nice, Irene. Write this down: There is no late! Now, I’ll go read your second poem 🙂



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