Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century bc; these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built 220–206 BC by Qin Shihuang, the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty.
When China opened its borders to foreign merchants and visitors after its defeat in the First and Second Opium Wars, the Great Wall became a main attraction for tourists. The travelogues of the later 19th century further enhanced the reputation and the mythology of the Great Wall, such that in the 20th century, a persistent misconception exists about the Great Wall of China being visible from the Moon or even Mars.
But it is visible in many images and depictions. Think of being “walled” in, going over the wall, walking on top of the wall, anything that the Great Wall of China inspires should be written and shared.
The HOLLYWOOD sign
Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California. It is notable for its place as the home of the entertainment industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a metonym for the motion picture industry of the United States. Hollywood is also a highly ethnically diverse, densely populated, economically diverse neighborhood and retail business district.
Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period. While the French Lumière Brothers are generally credited with the birth of modern cinema, it is American cinema that soon became the most dominant force in an emerging industry. Since the 1920s, the American film industry has grossed more money every year than that of any other country.
Think of a movie that had left an impression on you, or a star of the cinema who you enjoy(ed) watching. Maybe the “HOLLYWOOD” (Originally, “HOLLYWOODLAND”) sign illicit a poem. The “Walk of Fame”, Gruaman’s Chinese Theater or memories of the “Brown Derby” could qualify your muse. We’re ready for our close-up, Mr. deMille!
The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the state’s most iconic landmarks. It draws 2.5 million visitors every year. People tour the grounds of this cultural museum to learn about the pivotal role it played in Texas’ struggle for independence. Not only does it have a compelling fundamental story, but research yields many little-known pieces of information.
In the early 1700s, the Spanish military built the Alamo to serve as a mission. Mexico gained independence from Spain. The Alamo was the scene of a pivotal battle in the fight for the independence of Texas from Mexico. In the early 1800s, Texas belonged to Mexico. During the Texas war for independence from Mexico, Spanish troops occupied the abandoned building, now used as a fortress, calling it Alamo. The word álamo is Spanish for cottonwood (a type of tree that grows in the area).
Your mission is to write a “Remember the Alamo” type of poem. You certainly can use the actual Alamo, or San Antonio or Texas or revolution or… you get my drift. And when in San Antonio, tell Paula Wanken “Howdy!”
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the facility is adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, between Sydney and Farm Coves.
Identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world, the facility is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, under the auspices of the New South Wales Ministry of the Arts.
Though its name suggests a single venue, the project comprises multiple performance venues which together are among the busiest performing arts centres in the world—hosting over 1,500 performances each year.
Koala Bears, Kangaroos and didgeridoos – anything “down-under” is your goal!
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater or Colosseo, is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and stone, it is the largest amphitheater ever built and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering.
The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.
Of course, you can explore the neighborhood around the Coliseum, Rome itself and use that as your spark.The architecture, the people, the food, the history, the food…
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.
Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to fourth dynastyEgyptian Pharaoh Khufu, Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
The Great Sphinx of Giza
The area of Giza in Egypt holds many extraordinary structures including the Great Sphinx along with the Pyramids. All are fair game for your inspiration.
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the state of Arizona in the United States. It is contained within and managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Tribal Nation, the Havasupai Tribe and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
The expanse, the color spectrum, the depth. Nature is all-inspiring and awesome! Write from the Grand Canyon!
Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.
From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island. The international boundary line was originally drawn through Horseshoe Falls in 1819, but the boundary has long been in dispute due to natural erosion and construction.
I’m claiming “home field advantage” on this one! Your charge today on this visit is to write a poem of, about or inspired by Niagara Falls. You can include the “Cave of the Winds”, the “Maid of the Mist”, the spectacular lighting effects used to highlight the wonder of Niagara. Even the roar of the water is highly poetic. Choose your viewpoint and let your words cascade!
The Taj Mahal from Persian and Arabic, “crown of palaces”, is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658) to house the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India”. It is one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a symbol of India’s rich history.
Today, we ask you to use the magnificent Taj Mahal as inspiration for your poems. They could be about someone’s final resting place written in maybe an Elegy, or you could incorporate an Indian form of poetry (Naani, comes to mind). Any adventure you can muster based on this stop on our itinerary is most welcome!