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/
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.
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!