fotoplay: poetry workshop

On Monday I’ll begin a Fotoplay-inspired residency at the Camden Rockport Elementary School, in Rockport, Maine. The residency is sponsored by the excellent Youth Arts Program, which, for 40 years, has been enriching school programs in the area, by inviting artists into classrooms to work with the students. For my residency, I was asked to help the students to create their own concrete poems, (poems whose meaning is conveyed partly or wholly by some visual means). I was also asked to incorporate a place, familiar and important to the students, into the work. We decided that I would focus on their playground. For me, in This Playground with Fotoplay, it was perfect.

To prepare for the workshop, I spent an hour at the playground, climbing up onto the equipment, creating color photographs. Then, back in my studio, I selected a series of seven images, which I recreated in black and white, turning them into playful, graphic compositions. I titled the photographs: Climb (above),


Sit and Swing,

Climb High,

Climb and Peek,

and Swirl Down.

After a short slide presentation about Fotoplay, each of the eighty students will receive a few of these black and white Fotoplay playground pages. They’ll be free to do with them what they will, adding words, images, color and who knows what else. Then, in a second session, each child will have chosen one favorite image to use as the basis (and springboard) for their own concrete poem. All of the poems will be bound together in a book for them to take home.

Preparing for this residency led me to so many new ideas for Fotoplay pages, and, inevitably, for my next Fotoplay book. In the meantime, I look forward to posting the Fotoplay playground pages completed by the students, some time next week. I can’t wait to see what they do!