Making Poems and Making Photos: Observations at Sage Hill

Both are ways of being

in the world that


make you stop and notice

or notice and stop.


First time you approach a subject

you don’t know where it will take you.


Sometimes you need to get closer,

sometimes to step back.


What you create depends on

your angle in relation to your subject.


Where you focus matters

as does negative space.


Sometimes you land where you intended

and sometimes you don’t.


Poems and photographs

can be about


line  shape

colour   texture     pattern.


For creator and recipient

poems and photographs are


a form of “architecture

for the imagination.”


“Architecture for the imagination” is a phrase Jane Munro shared with the poets in her group, possibly coined by her grandfather. I thank her for how she helped open up possibilities for continuing work on my adult poetry project. I’m also grateful to the other poets in our group for their interest, insights, and encouragement, and especially the three in the photos you’ll find in the gallery below.

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Julie Lawson on June 7, 2023 at 10:55 am

    Your poem and photos have inspired me. What a fabulous workshop! Sage Hill is the perfect place to look at things with a new perspective, and your time there was clearly well spent. I’ve often thought of taking a poetry workshop but have been intimidated by the thought of the “real” poets in the group. You’ve given me hope! (Not that you’re not a “real” poet…but you get what I mean!)

    • Kathy Stinson on June 7, 2023 at 12:39 pm

      Julie, I totally understand your feeling about doing a workshop among “real” poets. I’ve been training myself to call what I’m writing “poems” and not “pieces” — at the encouragement of a “real” poet. Most of the poets in the group I was in were published poets and based on my experience, you should hesitate to take a poetry workshop no longer!

  2. Wendy Mason Geoghegan on June 7, 2023 at 11:25 am

    Inspiring and lovely. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathy Stinson on June 7, 2023 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks Wendy.

  3. Ann Benedek on June 28, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    Hello Kathy – Have been enjoying your blogs, particularly with regards to poetry. Some time ago, when I was young(er) and the world was younger too, I did write poetry . . . used to read it at various venues around Toronto, such as The Art Bar. Also joined various poetry groups and met some wonderful poets that way. I was quite impressed at the interest of ‘young people’ then in poetry, and in the writing of poetry. Well, I’ve been out of that scene for a while, but one thing that I learned has stayed with me: Poetry is an invaluable asset in writing fiction and helped me over the years it has taken to recently finishing my now thoroughly mentored but completed YA novel . . . (the first – not completed – resides in a bottom drawer somewhere) .
    All the best,
    Ann Benedek

  4. Kathy Stinson on June 29, 2023 at 9:55 am

    Happy to know you’re enjoying the posts, Ann, and that you’ve been engaged in writing and reading poems too. I wish you all the best with your completed novel — congratulations — and may your novel in progress one day make it out of that drawer! (Unless that’s where it truly belongs, as some of my “drawer projects” do.)

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