Ekphrastic poetry

Winters’ peace
Diane Brown, Photographic Artist

An event in Amesbury in April 2017, sponsored by then Amesbury poet laureate, Lainie Senechal, invited poets to visit an art gallery in Amesbury, which is no longer there, and write and submit a poem inspired by one of the art pieces in the gallery. I chose this fascinating photo of ice along a part of the Merrimac River rimmed with white birches, reflecting light. The photo inspired the poem “Birch, Ice, Snow” which was first published in Ibbetson Street Press #42, November/December 2017. With permission from ISP, it was also published in Merrimac Mic Anthology IV: Watershed in March 2018, then in my chapbook, In Silence, in June 2018 (http://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/in-silence-by-paulette-turco/). The poets and artists gathered at the gallery on another evening for the poets to read their poems and meet the artists. This was a very creative experience. If you hear of an opportunity to plan or take part in a similar event, I encourage you to.

A work of art inspired by another work of art is ekphrasis; when a poem is inspired by a work of art, it is an ekphrastic poem. The poem can be a description of all or a part of the work of art or an inspiration related to the work of art. So the artist or poet has much freedom to express the art that is inspired.

Below, the drawing I made was inspired by the poem I wrote that was published in Merrimac Mic Anthology IV: Watershed:

En Pointe
pencil on Bristol paper

En Pointe 

She claimed she’d never wear them on the stage,

but glasses four times stronger than she wore

would let her read the big E on the chart.

She agreed to contact lenses now

but would need a custom one, the cost

beyond her. So she signed up for a research

project; she might set a record—strongest 

ever fit. So after calculations, 

measurements, we had to wait. They draped

her corneas so perfectly. She scanned 

the room and asked to see a mirror—gasped, 

“My eyes. They look so big.” She stretched her leg,

said her foot seemed far away, then sighed, 

“Take them out. I cannot dance with these.”

I hope this gives you an idea for a poem. 


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