Thursday, April 16, 2009

Working on Writing

Earlier this month I wrote a poem based on Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting La Pia de Tolomei -- you can read my rough draft here.

On Tuesday I attended the Writers' Workshop meeting at our local library. I was thrilled that all together we had eight writers who came, and several of us read aloud our writings and received some helpful feedback. I presented two pieces -- my essay on Writerly Courage that I wrote for Kathy at The 10 Minute Writer and the poem on the Rossetti painting.

The great value of writing groups is in helping one another become better writers. I received a lot of great ideas for expanding and improving the poem, especially after doing a bit of research about Rossetti's painting. You see, La Pia de Tolomei depicts a character from Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatorio to be precise, who was locked in a castle by her husband while he married a countess. Rossetti used the wife of his fellow Pre-Raphaelite, William Morris, Jane, as his model for the painting. Rossetti was having an affair with Jane Morris at the time, and art critics have surmised that perhaps Rossetti's painting is an indictment against the Morris' marriage that trapped Jane in a loveless marriage.

Now that I know more about Rossetti and his painting, I can fill some details into my poem. The other writers advised me to work more with the middle section of the poem, expanding on La Pia de Tolomei's feelings of being trapped, of being supplanted by another woman, a woman with money and a title. So I'll work on the poem and bring it back next month with changes -- more about her feelings than just a description of the painting and a hint at her feelings as I have the poem written at this point.

I've been very busy the last couple of days with grading essays for my two writing classes at our co-op Class Days, so I'll catch up a few poems to make up for missing a couple of days of composing poems....


Jane D. said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing the progress on this Susanne! I feel as though I am only just entering into this 'writing' world and find it fascinating. Maybe one day I will get brave enough to write,not only to give information but to encourage thought and creativity as you and Kathy seem to do so beautifully.

Susanne Barrett said...

Thank you, Jane, for your encouraging words. I only just entered this "writing world" a couple of years ago and find it difficult but ever so rewarding. :) You are definitely part of this "world" -- I can tell from your blog posts. :)


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