A Visit to the Art Gallery

poem by Kristin Martin , illustrated by Sheree Fiala

Identify subjective language in the poem and select new vocabulary with a new illustration to change the mood.

Before reading the poem, complete the worksheet Two Views of the Beach

After reading poem, ask students what the poem is about. Students should identify that the poem compares a sunset to a painting/gallery. Ask whether the poem views the sunset favourably or unfavourably, and what words tell us this. Students should find words like:

- clean

- masterpiece

- perfect

- lucky

and conclude that this is a positive interpretation of a sunset.

Ask students what kind of mood the poet and illustrator are trying to portray in the poem. Answers may include happy, whimsical, joyful, dreamy, content, free. Now tell students to imagine the poet and illustrator were in a bad mood when writing/illustrating the poem. How might the vocabulary change to reflect this? How might the illustration be different? Brainstorm various ways the poem could change, as well as words that can replace the positive words from above. Examples include:

- clean could become dirty, scraggy, dull, too bright

- masterpiece could become scribble, splash, scrawl

- perfect could become abstract, confusing, befuddling

- lucky could become unlucky, bored, unfortunate

Students could also look at changing words such as wind to gale, pushing to shoving, transported to forced, to convey a sense of annoyance.

Once students have rewritten the poem, they are to think about how the accompanying illustration would change to suit the new mood. Brainstorm techniques that could be used to convey unpleasantness, such as:

- bold, discordant colours and lighting as the salient point

- skewed perspective or framing

- positioning subjects off-centre

- awkward subjects such as a person shielding their eyes against a glaring sun or a bird fighting to fly against a strong breeze.

Definitions and examples of these techniques can be found on Visual Literary Skills’ webpage Visual Techniques.

Students design their new illustration and overlay their rewritten poem.