But wait! Was that a groan I heard? A rumble of "how can poetry and scrapbooking and celebrating all be mentioned in one sentence?"
Because I know: for many, the word "poetry" inspires anxious memories of writing exam essays on confusing poems, trying to explain what the poet is trying to say. (I always hated that "What is the poet trying to say?" question. The poet isn't trying to say anything, she's saying exactly what she meant.) Or a professor droning on about Prufrock or Tintern Abbey or Hiawatha.
But poetry doesn't have to be dry or boring or difficult. Nor do you (now you're a grown up) have to write an essay about it. Instead it's a wellspring of scrapbooking inspiration! (Both for journaling and for embellishments.) It depends on the kinds of poems you're reading, but poetry adds a certain something to your layouts that nothing else can.
Back when I was teaching high school, I shared at least one "delicious poem" with my students every week. By "delicious" I meant the sort of poem that makes you say "mmmmmmm" when you're finished. The goal wasn't to analyze or argue anything, but to experience—to be surrounded by something aurally beautiful, to get caught up in imagining an image, to admire a perfectly exact metaphor. (Yes! A watermelon is like a buddha on the fruit stand!)
Those delicious poems are perfect for using on scrapbook layouts. Of course, you have to find them first! Some sources for poetry:
Every day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and then talks about some interesting bits of literary information. (You can have the almanac sent to you by email every day, or you can listen instead.) He is perhaps the master of delicious poems: the ones he shares are usually accessible but vivid all at once. Similarly, try his "Good Poem" books: Good Poems, Good Poems for Hard Times, and Good Poems: American Places.
This website has poetry organized by subject. You can also listen to poets reading their work.
the 811 section.
Go to your library's kids' nonfiction department and wander down the 811 aisle. This is American poetry written for kids and is a perfect source for scrapbookery inspiration! You'll find anthologies about different topics as well as discover new favorite poets. The more lighthearted aspect of (some) children's poetry makes it especially useful for layouts about your kids. (821 is the British poets if you're on that side of the pond.)
Go forth! Find some poems you love, and then use them on your layouts. They're a deep source for all sorts of layout inspiration; here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Use a small part of a poem as your layout's title.
For this layout's title, I used one line from Gerard Manley Hopkins's poem "Spring." I confess that I've used different parts from this poem on several different layouts. It's an infintely useful poem!
2. Use some of the poem as a subtitle:
I used a very small section of a much longer poem called "Elegy in Joy." Don't feel like you have to use all the poem's text. Sometimes (quite often in fact!) just a stanza or even a few lines will work with your topic. (See item #6 for more about this layout.)
3. Use the entire poem.
You can: type it out without any line breaks and create a text-based patterned paper. Print the poem on a journaling card. Print it in four long strips and make it a page border. Integrate it into your design by repeating an embellishment within the text. Print it in a huge font so that some of the end and beginning words print off the page. Choose a landscape, floral, or other photographic image that relates to the poem and then print the text on top of the image by creating a text layer in Photoshop. Print the poem in light grey text and then print your journaling on top of it. Create a piece of subway art, like this one:
Or you can always just print it out in a regular font size and stick it somewhere on your page!
4. Journal about a poem your child learned in school, like Celeste did in this layout:
5. Include a poem that your child wrote.
Journal about how the writing made you feel, like Paula did.
6. Use the poem to inspire your journaling.
My "Seeds" layout (number 2 above) came about when I read the Rukeyser poem. It made me start thinking about beginnings and endings and how things change, so I wrote a draft of the journaling and then went in search for some photos to go with my first impressions. There's a fairly large difference between the draft and the final journaling, which is OK; the point is that the journaling was inspired by the poem.
7. Write your own poem.
I know, it sounds intimidating, but it's really not. It's not as if your Pulitzer depends upon it; it's just a different way of writing! Poetry is not much more than a set of structures and ideas you can use to shape your thoughts, but within the structure lies the creativity. You can write a free-verse poem, as Lisa did in this layout:
Or try some rhyming verse:
The structure of the little poem in this layout was inspired by a children's book. Since I already had the form, the lines came together quickly---I crafted it in my head while I was shoveling snow!
Don't be intimidated by poetry. It's one of the most useful scrapbooking "supplies" you can use.