Lesson Plan by Ella Flores
Featuring: Issue 19.1, The First Folio
Audience: High School, College, or Continuing Education Writing or Art Class
- Explore the different artistic choices and tools available for crafting images visually versus through language.
- Practice analyzing the possibilities of translating a visual element into a written one.
- Think critically about how the sound of a word can augment its descriptive and sensory qualities.
- Consider how the various ways the visual appearance of a poem on the page influences the feeling it creates and how a reader approaches it.
- Transfer all of the above objectives into generating their own image translations.
- Start with two pieces that share an obvious quality, for example “Bats,” then “Will flowers grow…,” which both spring from the natural world, and have students make a list of each one’s respective visual qualities including both art and words.
- As a class, compare and contrast the use of color, space, movement, texture, placement, style, font, etc.
- Acknowledging their similarities first, next discuss how elements create each broadside’s distinct feeling and aesthetic.
- Now read one poem aloud as a class and ask students to create their own list of elements of the poem that visually and sonically impact them. Share these as a class and discuss why those elements of the poem stand out.
- Ask the students to consider the visual elements of the poem on the page, including its shape, length, font size, blank space, color, and discuss as a class how the meaning or theme of the poem is at play with its own visual elements and those of the broadside.
- In groups of 3-4, have students analyze the second broadside along with its poem. While in groups, ask students in their groups to choose one visual element of that broadside and make a list of all the different ways they can describe or evoke that element, (ask them to limit these descriptions to a word or phrase).
- As time allows, ask a few groups to discuss their visual element and the different word choices they came up with. Jot some of these down on the board and discuss as a class the different effects those words produce in their meaning, feeling, and sound for the poem.
- Generative exercise: Have students, on their own, create a new list of different descriptors for a single visual element of either broadside (or a different one!). Ask students to use this list as a starting point for generating their own work, either responding to, zooming in on, or contrasting a particular visual element of the broadside. Bonus challenge for them: have them create this list from an image used in the broadside’s poem!