Monday, April 16, 2012

for more ekphrasis / all the pretty pictures

the bridesmaid, by millais

when i got an email at the end of march inviting me to join our center for writers' poetry marathon, i decided to give it a go. the idea was (is) to write one poem every day in april (poetry month) and share it with the rest of the marathon writers before midnight that day. miss a day and you're out. i didn't think i'd last long, but today is the 16th and i have not missed a day yet! which means, yes, i have 16 new poems and will have a couple more before the end of the month. granted, some of them are not very good, but practice makes perfect better. :)

a few weeks ago, my poetry professor mentioned there ought to be more ekphrastic poetry, and when i was stuck for a topic / trigger for a poem about a week ago, i remembered and went to googleartproject and took a good, long, close look at my favorite painting, millais' bridesmaid. and wrote a poem about it.

my poem for today is also ekphrastic, - i explored some of the many collections google art project contains and found another painting that tickled me. it's this:

the girl i left behind me, by eastman johnson

i didn't read up on the painting, the historical context or the artist, because as i was looking at this scene, i had an immediate response. click on the picture for a larger view.

in any case, the point of this post is that maybe there really SHOULD be more ekphrastic poetry, so why not give it a shot! any poem that describes or enters into a painting can be considered ekphrastic. if a picture captures you or draws you in, that's all you need. well, that and the willingness to sit down and write it out.

google art project is a nice starting point - you can browse through so many works of art, modern and ancient, things you know and things you didn't know existed, from museums all over the world. what i particularly like is that you can zoom in on the images. with some of the paintings that means you get as close a look as you would if you almost touched your nose to the canvas (which does not exactly elicit a lot of enthusiasm from the people who work at the museum, take my word for it.) so, my suggestion is, look and write.

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