Graphic Design 1 students are asked to explore the poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by Wallace Stevens. Students create a tiled format that expresses the images and ideas they discover in the poem. They are encouraged to work in strong black and white, abstracting imagery when possible, and emphasizing their use of positive and negative space relationships. This project serves as a warm up to the Rumi poetry project, which offers them more freedom.
Halime and Murat, Professors from Ankara Turkey were visiting our class as we worked on this project. We discussed the use of poetry as subject matter for expressive typographic and image works. Students exchanged personal interpretations of the text of the poem, and we discovered similarities and differences in how the poem may be experienced by readers from different cultures.