Living poems: How to make a visual representation of a poem
Poems can create beautiful images in our minds. Wouldn’t you like to put those images onto paper? A great way to really enjoy poetry is to create a visual representation of a poem by making a painting, picture, video, slideshow, collage or other artwork that shows images from the poem and captures how it makes you feel.
Here are some ideas for creating a visual representation of a poem. You could use these ideas for a group project with your family and friends, or to create a decoration for your home. You could even use them to create a poetry project for the children you know!
To get started you need to know three things about your poem:
- What is your poem about? Does it tell a story? Or does it describe something like a landscape, an object or a feeling?
- How does the poem make you feel?
- What pictures do you have in your head when you read the poem?
Making a poem into a painting, drawing or picture
If your poem tells a story, you could make it into a painting or drawing that shows the event in the story happening. The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Lord Alfred Tennyson, is a war poem which tells the story of a British cavalry unit during the Crimean War.
This is an example of how the poem could be represented in a picture, painting or drawing.
If the poem tells a longer story, make a cartoon strip or story-board that follows the narrative of the poem. You could even make a children’s book based on the poem, like a Dr. Seuss book.
Or does the poem describe something like a landscape, a person or an object that you could draw or paint?
Making a poem into a slideshow or video
If you are not very good at drawing, you could also make a visual representation of your poem using digital media. What about a slideshow or video that re-creates the story told in a poem, or the things being described?
Look at the great example of a visual representation of this poem by Emily Dickinson that has been shared online.
You can use images, and add music to capture the mood or emotions of the poem. You can even add the lines of the poem to each slide as text or a voice over.
Making a poem into a collage
Sometimes it is hard to condense all of the meanings of a poem into one picture, or even into a slideshow. A collage is a collection of images, colors and words all stuck together in order to make a picture. You could make a collage of your poem by going through magazines and cutting out pictures and words that go with the poem. You could also make a collage of the lines or words of the poem. Or choose an object that represents the poem for you, like a red rose for a love poem like this one, and then make a collage with lots of different images of red roses in order to represent the text.
If your poem is about an emotion, you could think about colors or objects associated with this emotion. For example, we often think of the color yellow for happiness and of white for peacefulness. Look at these color paintings based on songs for ideas of how you could use colors to create a visual representation of a poem.
Now you have made a visual representation of a poem, what will you do with it? Hang it in your bedroom? Share a digital representation of a poem through Facebook or Youtube? You could even give someone you love a visual representation of their favorite poem!
For more ideas on making visual representations of a poem, watch this educational video from The Getty Museum.