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Write Around PAM: Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett created these lithographs in honor of Margaret Walker’s seminal poem “For My People.” Rather than illustrating the poem literally, Catlett transforms Walker’s powerful words about Black experience into iconic images. Together, Catlett’s words and Walker’s text explore hope and despair, as well as the simple joys of life. Writing and visual art so often inspire one another. We invite you to see what these pieces inspire in you. 

First, read “For My People” by Margaret Walker. Find a line in the piece that speaks to you and use it as a prompt for your own writing.

We also have two prompts here. As always, you can choose one, both, or write whatever else comes. Just set a timer for 10 minutes and keep your pen moving.

My favorite childhood game… / I dance because…  

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the winter. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

Elizabeth Catlett, For My People, 1992, illustrated book of six lithographs with text by Maragaret Walker; bound in imported red Japanese linen over heavy boards, housed in a cloth-covered clamshell box, The Carol and Seymour Haber Collection, © Artists Rights Society, 2008.73.9a,b