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"47/365: made in china" by Jin

“47/365: made in china” by Jin

We are in the age of selfies—-capturing ourselves in moments…preserving them til….well at least til we run out of memory space on our phones.

For years, painters and artists have been trying capture themselves in self portraits. Often they conceal as much as they show, using symbolism or other tools to share more of themselves and even add an element of mystery. Creating a self portrait is as much about what you veil as you reveal.

“All self-portraits have the advantage of having an available model
when and where you want him.
Conversation can be held to a minimum”
~Ivan Albright

Self  portraits are very different than trying to capture someone else. It requires the writer to look at how they see themselves, which can get a bit dodgy.

“underlying all self-portraiture is the mystery of how an individual sees himself or herself as other.”
~Shearer West

In creating a self portrait, a poet can take several different approaches. If you read Robert Creeley’s ‘Self portrait‘ it reads as a rather detached view of himself. Take a tour through the National Portrait Gallery and you will find that Robert Arneson used a brick with his name impressed in it, to represent himself. This same style of abstraction has been used by poets in their quest for self portraiture.

Lucie Brock-Broido’s “Self Portrait with Her Hair on Fire
Jorie Graham’s “Self Portrait as Hurry and Delay

While not a direct self portrait, i find Luis Rodriguez’ “My name is not Rodriguez” very telling as a self portrait and how a poet views themselves.

Of course you also have the rather straight forward self portrait where you look in the mirror and discover who you are, which can be just as rife with symbolism.

Today, your challenge will be to write a self portrait poem. It can be symbolic, metaphorical, descriptive—you get to choose what you show and what you veil. And perhaps today we will be able to meet you anew, just a bit.

If you are new, here is how this works:

  • Write a poem based on the prompt and put it on your webpage or blog.
  • Click the Mr. Linky button below and enter your name and direct web address (URL) to your poem.
  • There you will find the list of others playing along, read them, tell them what you thought of their poem.
  • If you use social media to promote your works, include the tag #dversepoets or @dversepoets so we can find and promote you as well.

Have fun. I look forward to seeing what you come up with…see you out on the trail.  ~Brian