A dance of poetry & art…
Poet: Jennifer Dunlop
Jennifer Lynn Dunlop is the President of Tower Poetry and enjoys composing poetry while running on the Bruce Trail.
When did you start writing poetry?
I began writing poetry when I was eight years old. I participated in a lesson on poetry in school and it really resonated with me.
Why do you write poetry?
I write poetry because I have always enjoyed words and reading, and I have a strong imagination. I appreciate wordplay, and the art of creating visually interesting images through words alone. I am passionate about the natural world, and I have always felt compelled to attempt to describe it in the way I see it, and illustrate how meaningful it is to me.
What is the best advice you have ever received and would share with new poets?
The best advice I have received is to attend a workshop and obtain constructive feedback. I believe many layers of editing are beneficial, and that we cannot be objective about our own work. In addition, I believe it can be useful to put a poem away for a short period of time and then return to it with fresh eyes.
Can you comment on your process?
My process is to write down any idea I get in a google doc. Often, I let it percolate. Sometimes poems are inspired as a whole, but more often, it is a small kernel of an idea that grows. I will edit many times before I feel the poem is finished.
Poems from Home/HPL videos:
From the New Quarterly (New Directions in Canadian Writing)…
Jennifer’s Writing Space https://tnq.ca/jennifer-lynn-dunlops-writing-space/
Painter/Mixed Media Artist: Tamara Campbell
This poem, “Grace” – by Jennifer Lynn Dunlop, really speaks to me. I live in the woods, surrounded by nature. When I read Jennifer’s poem, I can see the details she is writing about, I can get lost in her words like I can get lost in nature. Nature is where I feel most whole, most at peace. I love getting lost in her wonderful details – the textures of bark, mushrooms, flowers, leaves, the wildlife – there is so much to get drawn into, to escape into, so much variety. I am also interested in the concept of grace and have been trying to be more grace-ful in my life. That can be hard sometimes 🙂
What were the challenges? What was easy?
My biggest challenge for this project is the challenge I am always finding myself faced with – time! There is an old Yiddish adage – “Man plans, and God laughs.” That seems to apply to my life, as it does to many peoples’ lives I imagine – hence the saying! I have so many ideas and currently two streams of paintings/series that I am totally immersed in right now and, as many creatives know, once you get those creative juices flowing, new ideas keep being born. So this was easy in the sense that I knew what style of painting I wanted to do my response in and then I read the poem a number times and kept going back to it and thinking about it while I painted. I painted three pieces at the same time (I can’t ever work on just one – it is hard enough with a few to wait for things to dry!). Then the challenge was to choose one for this project. Since I had painted the three of them with this poem in mind, I can see elements of the poem in all of them.
Have you done this kind of project before? Would you do it again?
Yes, many years ago. For a few years I participated in an International Women’s Day in the town that I lived in then. There was a gallery there that put on a show each year. There would be a statement and theme for each year and you would create a piece of art inspired by that. I also once wrote a poem inspired by a photograph that I had taken. The photograph was of a house in ruins – it is a house that I had dreamed about and then found while out driving on back roads.
Yes! I would most definitely do it again!
Can you tell us a bit more about your process from idea to finished work? Why those colours and shapes?
I love colour. I love organic shapes. I am always exploring techniques and looking for new ways to make marks. I paint in layers, building them up until it feels right, then I go in with markers or paint and add the little details. Layers, layers, layers! I try to restrict my palette, but that doesn’t always happen. I grab things as I’m painting – my studio is an explosion of creative mess when I’m finished painting. The hardest part is having to walk away at times to let things dry so I can carry on.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I have always loved art and was raised with an appreciation of the arts. Over the course of my life, so far, I have always been dabbling in some form of art or another – woodworking, printmaking, pottery, photography, painting. I was very focused and showing for a few years up until about 12 years ago, when I became a first time grandmother and my studio became a nursery. I kept dabbling, but stopped showing until late 2019 when I started really focusing on my art again.
Size of the piece. How is it mounted? Price if for sale. Where is it available ?
9″x12″ On paper, unmounted $100
9″x12″ Matted and framed $150
Available for sale from me firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamara writes on Instagram: “There were 4 paintings to start, but a friend came for a visit and insisted that she needed one of them just as it was (before it was finished in my mind – but she’s a really good friend!) – so that one became “Unfinished Dreams” and I carried on with the remaining 3. They are titled, in order, “Anticipation of the Sun’s Illumination”, “The Dance is All” and “The Grace of Nature” – these are all words from the poem. “Unfinished Dreams” is last one. My eldest daughter helped me decide which one I’ll submit to the project. It was hard because all 3 were painted with the poem in mind, so I see elements in each that speak to me of the words and feelings that were inspiring me.”
@tamara_h_campbell – https://www.instagram.com/tamara_h_campbell/
Other Projects/Art Available:
We hope you have enjoyed this inaugural dance of poetry and visual art.
ARTISTS, there are poems still available to choose from and time to get in on the project… https://towerpoetry.ca/po-art-ry-poems/
POETS, stay tuned… we will open up submissions towards the end of 2023. As for what will happen with PoARTry, we don’t know.
This is an organic project, and we are thinking of a possible exhibit or publication. Who knows?! What we do know is that we have a lot of exciting work by talented poets and artists to share with you each month!
Did you know? You can pop over to our Tower Poetry Facebook group for discussion!