If you go
WHAT: "Light-Write" at the
WHEN: Opening reception from
INFORMATION: www.yakimalightproject.org or 509-453-1888
The photos that served as inspiration for the writers in the
That may seem like a constraint on the writer, receiving a photo by email and having to come up with a poem or story that fit it. What if the photo didn't do anything for the writer? What if it didn't have any relevance to his or her life?
But for writers such as
"It's not restrictive, really," Stover said of the process. "Actually, it's sort of liberating."
The photos, taken years ago by local photographers, were repurposed for this exhibit after originally being part of a 2010 Allied Arts photo show based on Yakima's light. In "Light-Write," they share panels with the poems they inspired. There are 33 in all, including the one that combines Stover's poem "What Remains" with
Stover used the photo as a starting point to write about a poignant moment in his family's history. The ice cream in the poem acts as a symbol for innocence on the wane, something that really doesn't have much to do with the photo. But that's how these things work, Stover said.
"You use that (photo) to generate the creative juices," he said. "Very often, the poem that results from that has more to do with the poet than the piece of art, even though the catalyst is the piece of art."
The process -- using existing visual art as inspiration for writing -- is known as ekphrasis. And one of the interesting facets of ekphrasis is the unpredictable chemistry that takes place when a creative writer comes in contact with a visually stirring catalyst, said
Peters, whose narrative poem "The Big Bell and the Little Bell" is paired with
"One of the things Yakima has going for it is a vibrant writing community," he said. "I don't think
That the writing itself took on a life of its own rather than focusing on a single theme is just a testament to that vibrant community, he said.
"The idea to start out with was this celebration of
"I adored these guys," he said. "They were so cool. They were incredibly tough. Have you ever bucked hay? These guys would reach down and grab the wire and just flip it up. ... I've always wanted to write something about these two guys. They're two guys that no one around here would ever remember, but they were just awesome guys."
And Maxwell's photo gave him a chance to memorialize them. It was a matter of chance, being assigned that photo for this exhibit. But it turned out to be liberating in the way that ekphrasis can be, he said.
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