The Ekphrastic Review‘s editor, Lorette C. Luzajic, chose Carousel, a 1906 painting by Ukrainian artist Olexandr Murashko, as a prompt for a recent Ekphrastic Writing Challenge. I am honored that my poem In Kyiv is among those chosen for publication. It is the third response listed. I encourage you to read all the responses, as well as Lorette’s poignant opening note. As always, comments are welcome.
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/
I carved out a bit of writing time today – a rarity in the whirlwind that has been my life lately.
I went to Linda’s blog to read the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt which is:
Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “the beginning, the end.” Write about the beginning of something and the end of something. Bonus points if your first sentence contains “the end” and your last sentence contains “the beginning.” <– Read that again. Have fun!
I admit that I couldn’t wrap my head around beginnings and endings as I am mired in a seemingly endless middle with lots of twists and turns and no real clarity of if/when there will be a conclusion, so I set the whole enterprise aside and decided to do some housekeeping in my overcrowded Google Chrome window. One of the first tabs I went to was one for The Ekphrastic Review, which has a new monthly column on ekphrasis, which is the practice of basing one work of art on another, most often used in the context of writing poetry based on visual art pieces.
While I was there, I figured I should check out the current Ekphrastic Writing Challenge. It is a painting called The Two Sisters by Théodore Chassériau. Given that I have sisters – and two daughters and two granddaughters – the painting inspired a poem in response, so that has become my beginning (middle) and end for this post.
Well, perhaps not quite the end yet. The poem does have an end, of course, but the real ending will be when I submit it to the challenge. I want to let it set a bit and will probably share it with daughter T. I don’t have another meeting of my critique group before the entry is due, so I’ll have to trust sending it without professional critique and revision.
Still, it was nice to have a poem appear on a day that I hadn’t expected it – and to have a blog post appear when I didn’t think I would have one of those either.
But no bonus points for me this time around…
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January and/or Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2021/01/29/the-friday-reminder-for-socs-jusjojan-2021-daily-prompt-jan-30th/
You can see responses from seventeen writers, including me and fellow Boiler House Poets Collective member Kyle Laws, at the link below. Many thanks to The Ekphrastic Review founder and editor Lorette C. Luzajic for the always interesting Ekphrastic Writing Challenge features. Enjoy!
I am happy to announce that I have a new poem available online. I mentioned in this post that I had written and submitted a poem to The Ekphrastic Review in response to their biweekly challenge, a painting by Jean-Francois Millet titled “The Angelus”. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, ekphrastic poetry or prose is a piece based on another work of art, most often a piece of visual art. I have written a number of ekphrastic poems, due in large part to my experiences in residence at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art with the Boiler House Poets Collective.
The poems that Lorette C. Luzajic, the editor and founder of The Ekphrastic Review, selected are now available online here. It’s always amazing to see the creative and unique approach that each writer takes from the same prompt. There are certain elements that weave among the poems. I’m especially pleased that Kyle Laws, my poet-friend from Boiler House, also has a poem chosen for this challenge. Kyle writes ekphrastic poetry on a regular basis and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Ekphrastic Review. It’s her eighth Pushcart nomination! It is an honor for me to be included with such distinguished poets and writers.
A note on my poem: The italicized lines are parts of the English translation of the Angelus prayer. The Catholic church I attended as a child observed the tradition of ringing the bells in a distinctive pattern three times a day to encourage people to pray the Angelus. The painting and the prayer inspired me to construct a narrative around the woman who appears in the painting.
If you are so moved, you may comment here or on the Top of JC’s Mind Facebook page.
One of the interesting things about Slovenia is that one of their national heroes is a poet. France Prešeren (1800-1849) was the first major poet to write in Slovene. His poetry influenced all Slovene literature and one of his poems is now the national anthem. The main square of Ljubljana was re-named for him with a monument erected in his memory over a century ago.
The statue depicts the Muse holding a laurel branch of over Prešeren, but, given that the Muse is mostly unclothed, the monument was controversial, especially as the Square is bordered by the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, also known as the “pink church.” I was able to attend Sunday Mass there on our last morning in Ljubljana. (This photo was taken from across the river; the square itself was partially closed off due to reconstruction of the pavers.)
And because many of my poet friends write ekphrastic poetry, I will close with a photo that I took in the baggage claim area of Ljubljana’s airport. I think we would all be able to write many lovely poems if we were able to visit this installation…
…which is called “a temporary art intervention” on this banner.
I know I, for one, could use an “art intervention” about now.
With everything that has been going on, I hadn’t had any poems published for a long time. I’m pleased to tell you that I do have a new poem published today in The Ekphrastic Review. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, ekphrastic poems are ones that are based on another work of art. The Ekphrastic Review, edited by Lorette C. Luzajic, publishes poems inspired by visual art.
The Ekphrastic Review also offers ekphrastic challenges. They post an artwork on their website and invite writers to submit a poem or short prose piece in response. A selection of these pieces appears on their website along with the artwork that inspired them.
I submitted a response to “In Equipoise” by Teresa Vito of Pueblo, Colorado (USA), chosen by Kyle Laws, guest editor for the challenge. The ever-creative Kyle Laws arranged her selections into an amazing chapbook. I am honored that the tanka I submitted was chosen as a “breath” among longer poems.
The link is http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/ekphrastic-challenge-responses-teresa-vito. Enjoy!
When the Boiler House Poets get together for our reunion residencies, we have a group project that we work on together, often spearheaded by Marilyn McCabe, whose skill-set includes videopoems and more computer skills than most of us can ever aspire to.
Last fall when we met for our week together at MASS MoCA, Marilyn asked each of us to write a short poem about a work of art that was currently at the museum. She then recorded each of us reading her work and melded it with images of the artwork.
Here is the result. Enjoy! (And because I know someone will ask, my poem is “Redacted” based on a haunting large-scale work by Jenny Holzer.)
Join us for Just Jot It January! Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/11/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-11th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/
Last November, I attended my first-ever poetry residency/workshop/conference at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, known as MASS MoCA. It was held in conjunction with Tupelo Press, a non-profit independent press located just down the road in the Eclipse Mill loft.
It was amazing, difficult, intense, valuable, exhausting, overwhelming, and dozens of other adjectives. (Poets don’t use many adjectives. Bloggers are allowed.) Anyone who would like to read more about my experience can check out the November 2015 posts in my archive.
One of the many lasting benefits is that I have written a series of poems about art. I had written a few before that residency, but not nearly as many as afterward. There is a fancy name for poems about art, ekphrastic. Note: spell check does not know what to do with the word ekphrastic.
Some of these poems, along with other poems about North Adams, the city where MASS MoCA is located, and the surrounding towns, will become my first-ever-attempt-at a poetry collection.
I grew up in a town about twenty miles from North Adams and went to high school in North Adams. We went there to shop and to visit relatives. The city has changed a lot over the years. I’ve changed a lot over the years. The poems deal with generations of our family, small towns and a small city, home, change, geography, and art.
It’s a lot.
It’s also a new experience.
I am about to print the poems that are completed and assemble them into sections and a manuscript, leaving space for some poems that aren’t yet written. I’ll look for holes that need to be filled. And try to fill them.
I am hoping to have a reasonable working draft by the time our group of poets, who were the first group to experience the Mass MoCA/Tupelo collaboration, return for a reunion residency in October.
We call ourselves the Boiler House Poets, after an art/sound installation at MASS MoCA where we made a video of us reading poems.
I am giving a shout-out here to one of the Boiler House Poets, Gail Dimaggio, who is embarking on another exciting collaboration with Tupelo Press. She will be one of their 30/30 poets in August. She and a small group of poets will each write a new poem every day for thirty days, which will be posted on a special section of the Tupelo Press website. Everyone is invited to follow along! Gail has a new blog to accompany her journey: https://gaildi.blogspot.com/.
Come join the poetry/blogging fun!
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “art.” Come join us! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/07/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-3016/