14 October 2017


When I was an English teacher in what is now my distant past, I noticed that many modern poetry books aimed at schoolchildren contained eye-catching photo-illustrations. Of course the idea was that the pictures would enhance appreciation of the poems. There would hopefully be a certain synergy between the image and the word.

In an idle moment, I had the idea of turning this process on its head in order to help some of my classes into poetry writing. To explain further - I presented them with pictures and asked them to write poems that would "fit" with these images - as if we were compiling our own poetry anthology before sending it off to the publishers.

Many of the resulting poems were excellent. It was as though the images had reduced creative inhibitions. Teenagers who might habitually retort, "I hate poetry...it's boring" found themselves creating little pieces of Literature that would have not looked out of place in a genuine anthology.

Well after that preamble, I think I shall write another poem for this humble Yorkshire blog and for the appreciation of its illustrious visitors. And just like my pupils I shall allow an image to be my muse. All five images that accompany the post were taken last weekend. 

Which picture do you think I should go with and if you were writing it what might your poem be "about"? Perhaps it wouldn't be "about" anything. You might be able to supply me with a creative spark.

Picture 1
 Picture 2
 Picture 3
 Picture 4
 Picture 5


  1. I would choose the first photo, and I would call the poem "Liminal".

  2. Photos 1 or 4 would be my choice...I find the ocean to be inspirational.

    Then again...any one of them is capable of provoking thoughtful words.

  3. I used the same procedure but I found it worked best with prose. And no, I can't give you any help. I do like the photo of the couple looking through the arch...to their future.

  4. Like Jennifer, I would choose the first photo, but the word I had in mind was "transition".

    Are those lobster traps in picture 3? Love the waves in front of the bench.

  5. I like the third picture, mr. pudding. Those shapes look like lobster catchers that I saw in Maine years ago. On the upper coast. Perhaps you could think about the hard life of a lobsterman. By the way, they were and are some of the finest knitters in the world.

  6. They're all great photos, and potentially inspiring, but I think I'd go with the magnets!

  7. 1 or 4 would be my picks and while they are both seaside shots I picked 1 because of the people and dogs on the shoreline. I picked 4 because i think the empty bench allows for a big range of responses

  8. Traps for lobsters and compare with the traps we all avoid in life.

  9. Photo 1 would be my choice, probably because it reminds me of Another Place in Crosby, where Hugh's ashes were scattered.

  10. Photo 1. My poem would be either "Before the Tsunami" or "After the Tsunami"...I can't decide.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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