Day 10’s poem I based on an image in an ancient Greek cup attributed to Euphronios called Achilles and Patroclus. What was interesting (and fortuitous) about this postcard was that the inspiration for the poem came from an NPR report I heard yesterday on the drive home about Italy going after tomb raiders and trying to repatriate their stolen art (to the everlasting sadness of museum curators who’ve paid good money to buy those pieces), and the reporter happened to mention Euphronios specifically.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did actually take a class on Greek Art, but I can’t say that much of it stayed with me, with the exception remembering a smattering of details about “red ware” (red figure pottery) and “black ware” (black figure pottery). To be fair, I was 18 and stupid, and I think I got a D in that class–trying to identify 100 slides per test when everything looks like red and black figure pottery (or ruins of some sort or another) is not exactly my strong suit.
In my poem, “Filching Euphronios,” I bring up the NPR report and the “antiquities dealers” who are really no better than “burglars.” I’m not in love with the title, because “filching” is the wrong word, tone-wise. It’s a totally awesome word in other respects, but when I’ve used other words like “steal” and “raided” and “fencing” in the poem, which are a bit more serious, “filching” is too light-hearted to describe what is, after all, a terrible crime against a country’s national treasure. The one plus side of the word “filching” is the consonance of the “f” sound in Euphronios.
I like this poem, actually. And before you say “JC, you’re always saying you like these poems, so you must be a really vain, self-impressed person,” please know, that’s not true at all. It’s just that using art for a prompt has really been helpful. The summer months are usually huge doldrums when it comes to my writing. For one thing, my writing group goes into hibernation, and I really appreciate and need the structure of having to produce a poem for them every week. For another, when it’s too hot to think, my brain shuts down, and it’s just hard to write.
Even if these postcard poems aren’t Great Literature (TM), at least I’m thinking about writing, and actually forcing myself to write. When you have to have a poem to send out or risk someone’s utter disappointment, that’s strong motivation.
Of course, I still owe a poem for Day 11, but maybe I can work on that tonight. When I’m also supposed to be working on my syllabus for Freshman Seminar. *Sigh*