Sometimes, when I haven’t written a poem in a while, I try to write tanka, which is a Japanese form that, when executed in English, is 31 syllables in 5 lines with a turn at the fourth line.
At other times, I will use a prompt to get me started. These can be written specifically as prompts or can be other works of art which serves as a springboard. Poems that are responses to artwork are known as ekphrastic poems. I write them relatively often because I have been part of the Boiler House Poets Collective since 2015. During our residencies at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, we often write ekphrastic work with most of us choosing to do this throughout the year.
One of my Boiler House poet-friends, Kyle Laws, introduced me to the Ekphrastic Writing Challenges from The Ekphrastic Review. I have been fortunate to have had several poems of my poems appear as selected response to challenges.
Earlier this month, I submitted a tanka in response to this challenge, the painting Blind Girl Reading, by Ejnar Nielsen (Denmark) 1905. You can see the painting at the link, as well as read the selected poems and short fiction in response.
While my poem was not chosen, I thought I’d share it here:
In darkness, pale fingers
glide over pages bound
heavy in her lap –
the only light, electric
impulse from fingers to mind.
Comments are welcome, if you are so moved. (There’s nothing like writing a six paragraph post to present a five line poem!)
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/01/28/daily-prompt-jusjojan-the-28th-2022/