Reflect & Write
By Hank Kellner | Updated February 22, 2019
What do you do when your fingers become icicles, your keyboard freezes, and your cursor refuses to move from its position at the left hand side of your monitor? And how do you respond when your students or members of your writer's group claim that their brains have turned to stone because "writers block" has overpowered them?
When that happens, some people vacuum their rugs, make fresh pots of coffee, yearn for the class session or workshop to end, bite their fingernails, or distract themselves with hundreds of other diversions.
That's not true for Elizabeth Guy. A storyteller, poet, and the co-editor of Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing, Guy sometimes uses paintings by the masters to trigger ideas for her work.
"I wasn't born to vacuum rugs," she reports. "That's why I use the Internet to find paintings by the masters to give me ideas. Doing so is like dipping into the mother lode of inspiration and writing prompts."
In the following two poems, Guy used Monet's paintings, Impression Sunrise and The Magpie as her inspiration. One can only wonder how the artist would have responded had he known that two of his paintings would become the inspiration for two poems some 140 years after his brushes kissed the canvas.
Reflections on a Winter Painting
Writers in all walks of life can find inspiration in paintings by the masters, but for teachers those masterpieces are especially valuable. Rich in color, detail, and content, they can help students develop new ideas that will help to overcome their reluctance to write poetry, prose, or non-fiction.
"Reflections on a Winter's Painting" originally appeared in Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy (Prufrock Press, 2013).
A veteran of the Korean War, Hank Kellner is a retired educator who has served as an English Department chairperson at the high school level and an adjunct Associate Professor of English at the community college level. ...
Inspired by Hank Kellner's Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing.