I started to conceive of the idea when I saw this example of the assignment, which can be found at http://janellegelino.com/assignments/visual-assignment-poetry-art-3-pts-do-not-stand-at-my-grave-and-weep-sebastian-crane-and-lawrence-spitler/. The black and white color scheme caught my eye instantly. I knew that I wanted to do the same. I went rifling through favorite poems of mine (conveniently listed in an old journal), but to no avail. Then I stumbled onto the page of favorite lyrics, and I suddenly knew what to do.
The way I see it, songs are just poems with music, while poems are merely songs that don’t have music yet. After all, our generation turns to the rhythms of music the same way those in past sought the rhythms of poetry, both following the tendency of contemporary works toward free form and individual expression, and our rock stars hold the same status that poets of the past held in society. Not to say that music has replaced poetry, but I certainly find them close enough to use lyrics for this purpose.
I quoted a few lines from Lithium (see full lyrics here via AZLyrics), a song by the ‘90s rock band Nirvana. They epitomize the sub-genre of grunge, music that (according to Wikipedia) has lyrics that are often “angst-filled, often addressing themes such as social alienation, apathy, confinement, and a desire for freedom.” Which in turn means that grunge lyrics are often a perfect background to the way I have viewed life since middle school or so, just as other people’s poems and poets of choice speak to how their perspective.
I made the background with a free stock photo from Pexels, under the tag depressed; they offer some excellent photos here, many of which I may use for my next assignment if I can incorporate them, or just Pin on my Pinterest boards for art and human expressions.
But I clearly didn’t think it was depressing enough by itself, so I shrunk it and recolored it with the “Black & White” theme via Google Drawings on Google Drive (the free word processing, presentation, and image editing service that goes with every Google email account). Then I overlayed the lyrics that inspired me in the first place, in the kind of font that felt appropriate for the words. It took a lot of adjusting to get the words to be fairly visible and positioned in a way that made sense, but finally I got it to the point where it looked perfect. I just love that I got “…I’m so ugly” to trail after the man’s image, suggesting that the thought naturally completes what he was saying earlier when he looks at his reflection. Just like Kurt did when he said “I’m so happy, ’cause today I found my friends, they’re in my head…I’m so ugly, but that’s okay ’cause so are you. We broke our mirrors.”
But of course, there’s nothing like the song itself. Listen here on Soundcloud or below.