Poetograffiti merges passions
by Rory Doyle
Oct 24, 2012 | 1360 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Clevelander Bill Alexander has been writing poems and taking photos since the 1960s, and for the last 10 years has been combining the mediums into an art form he calls "Poetograffiti."
Clevelander Bill Alexander has been writing poems and taking photos since the 1960s, and for the last 10 years has been combining the mediums into an art form he calls "Poetograffiti."
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It seems that new words are added to the dictionary every year, some laughably rooted in pop culture and technology.

For one local artist, the word he uses to describe his art form holds great meaning.

"I call it 'Poetograffiti,'" said Clevelander Bill Alexander. "It combines elements of poetry, photography and graffiti."

Alexander, 68, has been a dedicated poet and photographer since the 1960s, and for the past 10 years he has been fusing the two with his own unique twist.

"I started buying used picture frames at garage sales and flea markets and put my work inside," said Alexander. "I try and take photos that appropriately match my poems and then print them together on the same image."

His enthusiasm for both mediums has been strong since the Arkansas native's high school days and they have remained his major hobby after five decades.

"I've written about 250 poems over the years and I have about 400 different frames collected with my work in them."

The compositions include short passages or phrases that often cause the reader to stop and reflect on the words of wisdom.

"I hear the poetry spoken by others in everyday conversations. Someone will say something and I hear hints that lead to the poems I write.

"I find inspirational all over the place."

His Poetograffiti features different themes ranging from witty life lessons, political messages, religious topics and tongue-in-cheek jokes.

Many poems focus on a serious subject written with creative spark, such as his piece titled "Truth," which reads as follows:

Is truth absolute?

Above any law

Not open to dispute

And beyond refute?

Does truth come

As a whisper or shout?

Does truth originate

From within or without?

Do we see and hear

Truth directly,

Or is it only

Reflections and echoes?

Few people know

I suppose.

Alexander's truth is something he's not afraid to express.

"Most people who know me know that I say what's on my mind — I don't care a whole lot about what people think and I have nothing to hide."

He does not hold back in the messages his artwork portrays; a quality he said has been with him since the Vietnam War era.

"I protested the Vietnam War and didn't want to go," he said. "I didn't understand why we were there, so I spoke out against it. I wasn't drafted — I was dragged."

His opposition would land him in military stockades for 10 months, where he continued writing, although this time as a clerk typist.

"I've never lost my passion to write poems."

Alexander's first poetry book, "Infinite Jello," was published in 1993 and featured 100 of his older poems and passages.

After all these years of writing and taking photos, Alexander wants to publish a book of his Poetograffiti collection and begin selling pieces.

Alexander said it's never really been about the money but he would like to share his work with others.

Contact Alexander at 662-444-2483 or wmaij@hotmail.com to learn more about his art.