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Good news, everyone! No more fretting over how to spend the next month! It’s the Illustrated Poem Marathon, coming to you courtesy of Laurelines, and here’s the idea: you create a piece of visual art inspired by poetry. It could be a whole poem, a few lines, or just a few words. It could be written by you or by someone else. It could be written by someone who wasn’t even aware they were writing poetry.

Your work could be a literal illustration of the words of the poem, or could be simply inspired by them. You could be a skilled artist or a total novice. Here’s the important part: this isn’t a contest. There is no judging. The point isn’t to see who’s better than whom. The point is to experience this particular activity. To think about how you would express yourself visually in response to words. And to see all the different ways other people respond, too. And having experienced this, you will go out into the world a better person, performing good works and improving the condition of humanity. Hey, it could happen. (Plus, you’ll have to pay more attention to poetry, never a bad thing.)

Okay, what you do is this. Make your picture. Either make it digitally or scan it or photograph it or whatever, just get it on your computer. Then post it to your blog or website or MySpace page or Flickr account, along with the relevant bit of poetry, and send me an email telling me where it is. It’s just that simple. And, as always, if you have no place to post it to, attach it to an email to me (wally at wallytorta dot com) and I’ll post it here (although there are any number of places out there, such as MySpace and Flickr, where you can have your own place to post stuff, for FREE! This is what Web 2.0 is all about.) Do this as many or as few times as you like–unlike the Self-P Marathon, it’s not part of the process to do it over and over again.

So put on your thinking caps or your thinking underpants or whatever it takes, and get cracking. And people . . . be careful out there.