Love Poems for Two with the Library Hotel Collection Poet in ResidencePublished: May 9th, 2014
We frequently hear from travelers before they arrive that what they would really love is to plan a unique experience with their loved one. Are you a literary thrill seeker? Are you a hopeless romantic? If you are looking for a unique experience, the Library Hotel Collection offers a unique amenity we like to call, “Love Poems for Two: A Couples Massage for the Mind and Soul.” For $125, about the price of a massage, travelers can enhance their stay by reserving a private poetry workshop with our talented Poet in Residence, Karen Clark. In 90 minutes, you’ll awaken your inner poet and learn the perfect way to express your love for each other by writing a personalized poem your loved one is sure to treasure forever!
If you are wondering if this workshop is something you would like to try, here is an excerpt from Karen’s blog about a session she gave recently with guests at the Casablanca Hotel.
” The “Poetry for Two” package at the Library Hotel/Casablanca/Hotel Elysée /Hotel Giraffe allows guests to spend an hour and a half familiarizing themselves with various poetic forms in a short tutorial session with me, after which they write a poem – or two, if they wish – in a guided writing workshop. It can be a romantic occasion for writing love poems to one another – indeed, one gentleman, as you may recall from one of my earlier posts, capped the poetry writing session with a proposal to the lady of his heart, and was graciously accepted by her.
Today, I am a little nervous. I have learned from the hotel staff that the gentleman I’m about to meet is an English teacher. Moreover, he bears the name of one of the most illustrious poets of nineteenth century British literature – an instantly quotable writer whose words have thrilled me since I first encountered him in college. What if he knows a whole lot more about writing poetry than I do?
Like most of the poetry-loving people I have ever met, this couple is delightful. People who like to write poetry almost always are. Another thing about people who enjoy reading and writing poetry – they like to bat around ideas and get playful with words. And – poetry people are curious to expand on what they already know and explore new concepts. This couple is no exception.
They are quite taken with the idea of writing a love poem – only, their love poem is going to have a twist. They are going to write a love poem to their young daughters, ages 6 and 11, who are now at home being babysat by Grandma while their parents have a weekend in New York. What a great idea!
We rifle through a few pages of notes I’ve brought along – some prompts about poetic forms and devices, designed to get our creative juices flowing. It’s a funny thing – I have seen it time and time again, and observed it in myself, as well. You can be sitting there, trying to write a poem, and drawing a blank. Then you flip through a few pages of unfamiliar forms – things you’ve never tried – and something strikes a spark. Perhaps an acrostic? Or an Italian sonnet? We briefly consider trying our hand at a ghazal -a kind of verse rooted in ancient Arabian poetry, in which there is a series of couplets, with a refrain phrase at the end of each couplet, preceded by a word that rhymes with the word that comes before the refrain in the couplet above it. Interesting…but not quite the thing. Perhaps something to keep in mind to try with the eighth graders he teaches back at home? We keep looking. Suddenly, it jumps off the page, and it is she who puts a decisive finger down on the paper, saying, “Oh, I really like that one! Why don’t we try it? I’ll bet the girls will love it!”
Shaped Poetry (Carmina Figurata), is simply a fun way of conveying the intention of the poem by making its shape on the page visually resemble what the poem is about. The example I have selected is Swan and Shadow by John Hollander.
We catch fire immediately. First – what shall the poem look like? Something that will be meaningful to the children…something not too hard to shape on the page…something instantly recognizable. Aha! The camper the family just bought, in which they have already taken their maiden voyage! And, just for fun – let’s take the letters of the names of each of the two daughters, and form those into circles – their names will be the wheels. After all – it’s the girls who make these trips go! Mom and Dad? They are the hitch-knob that connects the camper to the car.
With the roar of an imaginary engine, we are off. We scribble on a writing tablet…cross things out…add things in…change a two-syllable word into a one-syllable word, because it sounds better that way… substitute “windy” for “breezy,” because “breezy” isn’t cold enough, and we want to convey how nice it feels to be warm and snuggly inside the camper with your family, even when that early-Spring trip feels more like a mid-Winter dash across the Yukon.
When we are done, we type it all up on the laptop, spacing the words on the page to look like a camper. By the time we are finished, we have had a great deal of fun, have a completely unusual gift for the girls that bears no resemblance whatsoever to a souvenir T-shirt, and have given John Hollander a run for his money.
Ah, the healing powers of poetry!”
– Karen Clark.
Thank you Karen! We are thrilled to see our guests enjoying this exciting new service!