poetry and prose about place

out of place

with 5 comments

One of the advantages of belonging to a regional writing group β€” regular opportunities to refresh the writing mind and put new tools in the writer’s kit.


This past month at WordsFall, an annual event of the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation, I took a course from well-known poet Lynn Davies (author of how the gods pour tea, 2013, Goose Lane Editions, The Bridge That Carries the Road, 1999, Brick Books, and others). Lynn’s course Paper Moon, Paper Shoe: Writing and Collage introduced me to an new idea, using paper collage to inspire and renew.


In a couple of very enjoyable hours, Lynn showed us how to build a collage from magazine images and other paper scraps. She showed us examples of collages she had made and set us to work on our own collage. Her instructions were to select images that appealed to us at the moment and not overthink the choice of images. After the images were glued to a card, we took some time to write about the collage and the ideas it suggested.


Here is the collage I produced and the resulting poem.




out of place


An orange tree

in temperate soil,

among caraway

and dill.

One red tile

in a zigzag

of black and white.


Shoes take me

for a walk

in barley grass

and caraway.

Melon rinds

on size five feet.

Too slippery, too wide.


Garlic and dill

by lantern-light.

Ten after ten

on the hall clock.

Pickles and port

and a splash

of blackberry wine.



when the lights go out,

makes no sense at all.

Dormer rooms

too tight

and me too tall.

Caraway among the dill.


Salt on wounds.

Seeds in pickle jars.

Willow trees scratch

at window glass.

Garlic to banish

grinning skulls,

creep beneath tiles.



Next time you struggle for inspiration, consider generating some new ideas with collage.


All my best,

Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm

5 Responses

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  1. […] one of my recent posts, here, I wrote about a course I took using collage-making as a writing prompt. To help us visualize the […]


    • Hi Robin. I think your mandalas must have a similar effect on the brain, realigning ideas and emotions as you draw/create. Writing after making a new mandala might reveal an new creativity.


      jane tims

      November 26, 2018 at 12:01 pm

  2. I love this, Jane. I used to make collages, and enjoyed seeing what my inner self related to in regards to the images and how I placed them. Writing something, I think, might add to the fun. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person


    November 25, 2018 at 10:48 am

  3. I love this! My mom encouraged my two sisters and I to make collages regularly, and then even as an adult, I will occasionally bust out the magazines and glue. I’m always interested to see what my brain chose to focus on after the exercise. One year I reflected on the images of my collage and realized several items “came true” in the form of riding a horse, buying a blue shirt or other such trivial things. It’s a wonderful exercise.

    Liked by 1 person


    November 20, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    • Interesting how there is some subconscious thing going on as you select the images. Later that must emerge in the writing. Now you mention it, I will look for future realizations of my collage!


      jane tims

      November 22, 2018 at 10:40 pm

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