Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop

Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 10:00am to 2:00pm

Class Meeting: Saturday, February 23 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, in the Poetry Center Conference Room 207. 

Registration opens December 17, 2018 at 11 AM. ***SOLD OUT***

The term “ekphrasis” comes from ancient Greek, and in English it roughly means “a description.” The tradition of ekphrastic poetry is a long, rich, and varied one, with poets from Ovid to Frank O’Hara taking delight in the mirroring (or reconstructing or deconstructing) a visual image via the use of a written text. Ekphrastic poems utilize a myriad of forms and strategies, and they respond to, incorporate, investigate, embellish, interpret and/or reflect upon a vital work of art—usually either a painting, photograph, or sculpture. In our three-hour workshop, we’ll initially read and discuss a selection of compelling ekphrastic poems that I’ll distribute and post digitally. Then we’ll compose an impromptu ekphrastic poem in class, using a wide array of reproductions of art that I’ll provide. This assignment provides poets with new ways of looking deeply at an object; it generates effective strategies for articulating what’s been observed; and it furthers our exploration of how a specific work of art sparks within us new insights and surprising feelings and intellectual connections. Finally, we’ll use the remaining workshop time to discuss in depth our newly born ekphrastic poems.