Posts Tagged ‘wedding poems’

Melabee photographing in Puerto Rico, January 2009We probably won’t do formal introductions at the wedding (no one is invited who doesn’t know us…) I would like to take this opportunity introduce you to my mother, Melabee M. Miller.  An artist, she’s inspired me since I used to borrow her Sharpie pens and draw under her desk in a NYC industrial design firm as a child.

A few quick facts…

She is an architectural photographer who was recently the principal photographer for the book, Can’t Fail Window Treatments. Some of you in New Jersey might have attended her book signing at Barnes & Noble in Springfield.

Her botanical images have found their way onto art cubes and floorcloths. We have an art cube of every color and three floorcloths in our house. I love standing on the one by the sink.  

I bet you are wondering if Melabee is involved in the wedding industry. She recently joined Weddings by Artists,  a group I founded for like-minded artists involved in the wedding industry. Her white cubes would make perfect favors.

She recently started blogging and you can see monthly pictures (replacing her once-bi-monthly calendars). My favorite is the artichoke she is growing in her backyard in a Manhattan suburb – from a seed packet I brought back from Italia!

Keeping with the art theme, my mom and I have collaborated on a number of projects. We created a manuscript of paired photographs and poems that narrate our family’s emigration from the small town of Sala Consilina in southern Italy to New Jersey in the 1800’s. We have published a number of poems and been invited to present the project at a number of academic conferences, but we are still looking for a publisher for the manuscript as a whole. 

She is also the photographer for the personalized wedding poem roses, if you choose to have your poem printed with flowers. Look up to the top of the page to see one of her roses (again, grown in her garden.)

If that isn’t enough, she is also the most helpful MOB (Mother of the Bride) ever. Considering how far away I live, she has had many things to do locally. Tomorrow, she is off to visit with the florist.

Our next adventure? A mother-daughter trip to Santa Fe next week before I start a weeklong residency at the Ghost Ranch through the wonderful organization for women writers, A Room of Her Own. Stay tuned.

Mom and I having drinks before the Sex in the City Premiere in NYC

Thank you for everything, Mamma Mia!

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 Erika Dreifus

Writing expert Erika Dreifus kindly invited me to write a guest blog entitled, “Writing Your Family History: Five Hints.”  Erika’s blog Practicing Writer and her newsletter  are incredible resources for writers. When I need some advice, I always turn to her list of resources. I hope you will check it out.


My mother, a professional photographer, and I compiled a collection of paired poems and photographs documenting our family’s emigration from southern Italy to New Jersey. These pieces are based on visits to the town where our family originated, oral histories collected with Americans and Italians, historical documents and cultural history about the towns and time periods involved. What we created contains an emotional truth and some facts, but the stories mostly contain facts as we experienced them or as they were told to us. We continue to translate the experiences in the form of our art.


Here are some of those poems published (sadly without the photographs):


Poem “Question of Return” in Lumina.

Poems “Spring Pool Water,” “Noisier Than the Milk,” and “Statue of Liberty, 1890 Spiralbridge.

Poem “Teresa serves dinner at 20:00” in Conte: An Online Journal of Narrative Writing.


My personalized wedding poem company, Word Arrangement and this blog grew out of these experiences. I enjoyed collecting oral histories and translating them into poems and found a way to continue with this interest. Through wedding poems, I am lucky enough to be able to hear other people’s stories. I particularly enjoy hearing love stories!


If you are interested in learning more on the subject of Writing Family History and you are in the Ann Arbor area, here are two upcoming opportunities:


I am presenting a workshop entitled, “Writing Your Family History” at the Ann Arbor Book Festival on Friday, May 15th from 10 – 11 am.

Here is the program description: Researching and writing your family history doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In this session, learn tips on how to gather information and brainstorm ideas before translating the stories and research into a form that you can share with family members.



I will also be teaching a related one session class through the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed the evening of May 7:

Here is the class description:

Preserve Family History

Don’t let the intimate stories of your unique family history pass on with loved ones. Learn how to collect these special stories from your family. Discover how to get started and complete an interview. Develop a better understanding of how to craft the questions, answer questions and what to do with the final product. 1 class.


6:30 – 8:30 pm

(Page 12, Spring 2009 catalogue)



An essay of mine about writing about your family history was published in the Canadian geneology magazine Family Chronicle last summer. Thanks to the Anglo-Celtic Connections Blog for the shout-out!



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If you are looking to take classes this spring, I hope you’ll consider the classes I’m offering through Rec & Ed this April and May:


Intensive Italian for Travelers

Writing for Special Occasions

Preserve Family History



I think you’ll be *particularly* interested in Writing for Special Occasions. I’ll be sharing some secrets I’ve learned as a Personalized Wedding Poet.


For more information, here is the link to the catalogue.

You can register here.


Here are the details:


Writing For Special Occasions

Have you ever been asked to write a speech or poem for a special occasion? Do you enjoy expressing your own thoughts in a blank card presented to someone special? Get your creative juices flowing. Explore different forms of poetry and brainstorm ideas. The instructor will guide you in a workshop session to edit and perfect your work. 2 classes.

4/21 – 4/28

6:30 – 8:30 pm

(Page 12, Spring 2009 catalogue)


Preserve Family History

Don’t let the intimate stories of your unique family history pass on with loved ones. Learn how to collect these special stories from your family. Discover how to get started and complete an interview. Develop a better understanding of how to craft the questions, answer questions and what to do with the final product. 1 class.


6:30 – 8:30 pm

(Page 12, Spring 2009 catalogue)


Intensive Italian for Travelers (Level 1)

4/20 – 5/13 (Monday/Wednesday)

10:00 – 11:30 am

(Page 21, Spring 2009 catalogue)

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The blog Wed Michigan (http://wedmichigan.blogspot.com/2008/12/personalized-wedding-poetry.html) kindly featured the Personalized Wedding poems. Hope you’ll read the interview and visit their very informative site.


Personalized Wedding Poetry

If you are looking for a way to make your wedding personal and unique, then look no further than Word Arrangement by Chloe Yelena Miller. Word Arrangement is located in Ann Arbor and specializes in personalized wedding poems for your big day. Chloe has a strong background in poetry and does an amazing job producing beautiful pieces of work that celebrate a couple’s individuality. Visit her website and her blog to read some of her sample work!

What inspired you to start WordArrangement?
I am a poet with an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and I am interested in transforming specific experiences into poems that can offer a human truth to their readers. My mother, a professional photographer, and I collaborated on a project narrating our family’s emigration from southern Italy to New Jersey in the 1800’s. I wrote family members’ stories and ourexperiences in verse and my mother paired them with images. Based on that experience, which included interviews, research and conversations with family members, I was inspired to create a business that did something similar: translated human experience into poems. In addition, I often write my fiance’ love poems, so I thought that wedding poetry would be a perfect combination of these interests. The best part of the process has been hearing the couples’ responses to the poems.

What is the most unique way to include a poem in your wedding?
Many couples will decide to include a reading in their ceremony. The poem will be read by a member of the wedding party, and it will reflect the couples’ view of love and their hopes for the future. I think that integrating the written poem into the ceremony (printed in the program, on an invitation, etc.) helps to give the guests a chance to read the poem more closely and consider what the couple meant by the words they chose. By deciding to use a personalized wedding poem, the guests are offered a window into the couple’s life. This window can help to inspire them to remember when they first fell in love.

What is your favorite part about living in Michigan?
My fiance’ and I were in a long distance relationship before we moved to Ann Arbor… building a home together is by far the best part. I’ve also enjoyed becoming a part of the very creative and dynamic community here. I am looking forward to volunteering for the Ann Arbor Books festival this May and I’ve attended a number of readings hosted by the University of Michigan’s MFA program. I always rave about the easy access to independent bookstores and regular farmer’s markets.

Any advice for Michigan couples when “personalizing” their wedding?
The couples should talk openly and decide what aspects of the wedding are most important to them. Once those are chosen, those should be the parts that are given the most time and attention. Whether a couple chooses a more traditional or nontraditional ceremony and reception, each moment has the possibility to be imbued with meaning. For example, the colors of the flowers could reflect a certain memory of picking flowers during a walk when they were first courting. These are the kinds of details that I look for when I interview someone for a personalized wedding poem.

Thank you, Chloe, for taking the time to share your amazing company with Wed Michigan!

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