In the spirit of poetry month, I thought I’d make a poem for this week’s post. Last year, I celebrated the month with the post Late To The Poetry Party, offering a poem and several links to other poets (who actually submit poems and win honors).
Have you ever heard a term that sounded so odd you wanted to blurt, “Say what?”
That’s how I felt when I first heard of Ekphrastic poetry but I didn’t ask the question out loud. First, my mind and tongue tried to wrap itself around the weird word. Second, maybe I didn’t want to hear the definition; sounded like a cutting word.
I heard the word from my writing mentor, Fred Arroyo, who participated in this interesting workshop:
“PINTURA : PALABRA, a project in ekphrasis” is a multi-year initiative that encourages new Latino writing inspired by art, above all a Smithsonian American Art Museum traveling exhibit titled Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. Aspects of this initiative include ekphrastic writing workshops; inviting writers to engage with the exhibit; and partnering with literary journals to publish portfolios of ekphrastic writing. The exhibit debuted in Washington, D.C. in 2013 and concludes its tour in Sioux City, Iowa in 2017.
You can read how he uses ekphrastic poetry here.
This is from the Poetry Foundation:
An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.
Now, whenever I go to a museum or see a lovely piece of photography, my creative juices begin squirting and sometimes land on something I like.
This is a photo which mesmerized me for a few minutes. A story followed.
In another time,
sunlight danced on the shoulders
of forbidden lovers
pressed against columns
moist with passion
a canopy to cover scandal,
sighs of love.
Her velvet gown
crushed by nubby wool
of a friar’s frock,
surrounded by scents of jasmine
and aromatic oils.
More than one great romance
glowed in the shadows
of the setting sun
in another century, in another monastery.
The photo connected with me, perhaps because I love architecture, medieval times, and television shows like “Reign.”
I find that Ekphrastic poetry is a good way to stimulate creativity and can serve as a writing prompt. Many times I need something to propel me to start writing, especially if I’m revising (which is most of the time).
So tell me, what do you see?