Writing is a visual creation, producing images in our minds even if we only see letters on a page. Today, thanks to the amazing technology we have at our fingertips, we can create literal images within our words – or words within images. I’ve spent the last week experimenting with the juxtaposition of poetry & pictures, letting the words take shape and fashioning them into visual art. Then I posted them on Instagram, arguably the most popular social platform for visual poetry today. Here are some of my creations:
Warmth creeps into my skin,
soft as golden silk on cheekbones,
milk-foam clouds hiding daylight
beneath waves of sleep-stars.
She was just as fiery as the crimson moon,
eyes burning constellations from bright stars,
voice painting passion across the sky.
I am vexed by Night, by her chirping of crickets,
by her croaking of frogs, by her chorus of raindrops,
A cacophony of sound stopping my sleep,
delaying my dreams of the moon and her music,
A silent symphony of slumber.
Stacie Eirich Copyright September 6, 2016
What visual poems try to do is to catch the eye — then the mind — and finally, in often a few short lines — the soul. The beauty and brevity in an Insta-poem seems to have the effect of stopping breath, if only for a moment. And that is exactly what this type of poetry, I think, aims to do. To give us a moment of stillness in the noise of everyday life. To remind us to look, to think, to examine, to question, to wonder. Or simply to breathe.
Of course, the question I’m left with is: Is visual poetry necessary? I began this post by stating that poetry is, by nature, a visual creation. The words in a poem are based on sensual experiences, causing us to envision pictures as we read them.
So, then, to my question — I must answer No. It isn’t necessary, and some may even argue it hinders creativity and imagination. However, I’m not likely to stop looking at the beautiful art I see Insta-poets creating, nor will I stop trying to make it myself. For a challenge, for a different form of expression — but mostly, for those moments. To look, to question, to wonder, to breathe — to live.