April 12, 2016

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Writing Exercise: Ekphrastic Poetry

Recommended Ages: All! William Carlos Williams wasn't the only poet to write about Brueghel's painting, "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." Another -- more famous -- poem about this painting is W.H. Auden's "Musee Des Beaux Arts."
The two poems and Brueghel's painting make a great lesson for high schoolers.
Auden's poem begins:
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
This week's writing exercise: try your hand at an ekphrastic poem.
Choose a favorite work of art -- one that would stop you as you walked through a museum or gallery to have a conversation. What is it about the painting that "talks" to you?
Mine is by Mark Rothko (54).
I'm prepping for a poetry residency at Norwood Elementary in Dundalk, MD tomorrow, so time is short. Each Poetry Friday, I visit Laura Salas' blog: 15 Words or Less Poems. That blog, and my time constraints, inspired me to keep it short!
I know I'm not supposed to see realistic objects in a Rothko painting, but...
Torii at dusk,
I approach you.
What is beyond
your gate? Sleep,
dense as stone.
Have a fantastic ekphrastic experience, y'all.


Meghna said...

Yes. Art brings inspiration. I would love to try this writing exercise. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry, I am going to have to write you up for unauthorized use of "ya"ll" by a non-Texan.

Anonymous said...

I love this and will be working with an ekphrastic this week.

Author Amok said...


Would you be happier if I used "youse"? I am a Jersey girl.

Wait until you read my middle grade novel in verse. One of the poems is in the voice of a boy recently transplanted from Texas. He's feeling a little underwhelmed by Columbia, MD.

Maybe I should ask you to translate that poem into Texan.

Glad everyone enjoyed the ekprhastic poetry!

laurasalas said...

Great post. Hope you had fun at your poetry residency!

And I'm an ex-Florida girl who uses y'all, so I guess I'll be subject to the same fines and punishment you are:>)

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Laura! The poetry residency is off to a good start. I'll be there for two weeks.

Good to know I'm not the only non-Texan who y'alls people!