Photo credit: Terri Quinn
Andrea Thompson is the recipient of the League’s 2019 Golden Beret Award, was the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word’s 2009 Poet of Honour, and in 2005 was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. She’s the author of the novel Over Our Heads and the spoken word CDs, Soulorations and One. See her website and IG (andreathompsonpoet) for more info.
I first combined poetry and photography back in the 90s. I went to see a Barbara Kruger exhibit in New York and was super inspired. So I took a corrector ribbon (like the love-child of typewriter ribbon and correction tape) typed out my poem, reversed it, cut it up and pasted it with some graphics around a photograph I took of Trout Lake in Vancouver.
Fast forward to this past summer, when my teenage niece, took pity on me and offered to help me figure out how Instagram works. When I told her I wanted to post images, she said I needed to change the settings on my phone to give Instagram access to my camera. I was all like – hey, hold up!I told her how I had a bad habit of taking pictures of ridiculous (and sometimes embarrassing) things by accident – the visual equivalent of a pocket call. We found a way around my concern, and then had a brief but enlightening conversation about the concept of “privacy”. Now, let me say – this girl is unusually bright and well read, yet I could tell from her response that my understanding of “privacy” was pretty much foreign to her. I was a little horrified to find that, as Orwell foresaw and wrote about with such chilling elegance in Nineteen Eighty-Four, some words don’t mean what they used to anymore.
So anyway…. after that chat, my brilliant niece taught me how to create collages using an app. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the process, and it’s opened me up creatively in unanticipated ways – I’m writing shorter poems and thinking more about how the world looks. I’m hoping I can also inspire my nephew to start posting some of his stuff too. He’s a wonderful young poet. He kinda blew my mind the first time I read his work. I’m sure he’d be mortified I’m telling you this, so I won’t mention his name here – but I really hope he starts sharing his work with the world…
In the meantime… here’s a sample of what I’ve cooked-up. You can check out more on my Instagram page if you’re into it. I’m at @andreathompsonpoet
Andrea Thompson visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at Glad Day Bookshop, 499 Church Street, Toronto, starting at 6:30pm (PWYC) alongside Deepa Rajagopalan, Mary Rykov, a special surprise guest, and guest speaker Catalina Fellay-Dunbar who will guide us through, “ A Beginners Guide to Toronto Arts Literary Grants.”