Workshop 2: Self-portrait poetry & collage

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Today we embodied metaphor through theater exercises, explored our symbolic selves through poetry, and created self-portraits with collage materials.


I am an orange sweet but sometimes sour

I am purple sometimes dark sometimes light

I am a beagle shy and small

I am chocolate

When you see it you think it’s only chocolate

but when you bite it, you find out that there

is more inside.

I am a camera capturing important or simple


I am a river sometimes big sometimes small,

going anywhere.

~ Giovanna


Nicole started off the day by introducing us to three new vocabulary words: metaphor, composition, and symbolism (not to be confused with last week’s symbol, which you’ll notice doesn’t have the -ism).  We then got on our feet and meandered about the room, preparing to represent our emotions through physicalized symbolism.  First we walked around in a state of vulnerability and let that translate into the movements and gestures of whatever object or animal we felt like.  For me that was a speeding train.  Next we walked around feeling strong, and for me this transitioned into the movements of a sturdy grandfather clock.  Embodying metaphors of ourselves was helpful when it came time to write personal poems.

Virginia introduced us all to the beautiful poem “‘I am Cherry Alive,’ the Little Girl Sang” by Delmore Schwartz.  We used this poem to inspire us to write poems using metaphors and symbols that represented how we were feeling in the present moment.  When we were all done with the poems, Nikki took them to be photocopied – for mysterious purposes – while we all had snack.  After snack, Jillian introduced us to our final project of the day, which was making collages inspired by our poems.  We composed the collages in four steps: first we used an image, paper, or paint to create a background on our cardstock; then we used a bolder image from the pages of old magazines and books for the middle ground; and then we selected an image or text that captured one of the metaphors from our poems.

Even when we thought our collages couldn’t get any more beautiful, Nikki introduced the final step, which incorporated the photocopies of our poems.  Nikki showed us that when we put shipping tape over the words on the photocopies and soak them in water, the words peel off onto the tape like a sticky transparency.  We taped the words from our poems onto the collages as our final layer.  We then displayed our collages side by side on a window sill, stepped back, and admired.  ~ Cara

I’ll tell you.

I am sandcastles.

Flat diet coke.

Tall socks. Tall grass.

I walk by people

I’ll never know.

I know people I’ll never

walk past.

I am early green


And purple at night.

I am picking a fight.

I am clicking dog’s toenails

on cold tile floor.

I am more.

I’m alone and together.

together alone.

The last ring of an

unanswered phone.

~ Virginia



Filed under Ag47 update

2 responses to “Workshop 2: Self-portrait poetry & collage

  1. this is so awesome. i am an art teacher and want to do a different type of self portrait. i was researching self portrait poems and ran across this page. it looks like you are doing an amazing job. congratulations!

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