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Copy of Ekphrastic Poetry
Transcript of Copy of Ekphrastic Poetry
Ekphrasis: a literary description of our commentary on a visual work of art. "The Starry Night"
Anne Sexton (1961)
(after Vincent Van Gogh)
The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.
It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:
into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no cry. "Nude Descending a Staircase"
X. J. Kennedy (1961)
Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.
We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh--
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.
One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.
Nude Descending a Staircase
Marcel Duchamp (1912) Archibald John Motley, Jr. (Nightlife, 1943) Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918
Alfred Stieglitz Cans Festival (Banksy, 2008) Charles C. Ebberts, Lunch at the Top of a Skyscraper, 1932 Greek: Ek = Out of + phrasis = Expression "The Great Figure"
William Carlos Williams (1920)
Among the rain
I saw the figure 5
on a red
to gong clangs
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city. I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold
Charles Demuth (1928) American Gothic
By Grant Wood (1930) "American Gothic"
John Stone (1998) Just outside the frame
there has to be a dog
chickens, cows and hay
and a smokehouse
where a ham in hickory
is also being preserved
Here for all time
the borders of the Gothic window
anticipate the ribs of the house
the lines of the pitchfork
repeat the triumph
of his overalls
and front and center
the long faces, the sober lips
above the upright spines
of this couple
arrested in the name of art These two
the sun this high
ought to be
in mortal time
about their businesses
Instead they linger here
within the patient fabric
of the lives they wove
he asking the artist silently
how much longer
and worrying about the crops
she no less concerned about the crops
but more to the point just now
whether she remembered
to turn off the stove. Perspectives in writing ekphrastic poetry
• Write about the scene or subject being depicted in the artwork.
• Write in the voice of a person or object shown in the work of art.
• Write about your experience of looking at the art.
• Relate the work of art to something else it reminds you of.
• Write in the voice of the artist.
• Write a dialogue among characters in a work of art.
• Speak directly to the artist or the subject(s) of the piece.
• Write in the voice of an object or person portrayed in the artwork.
• Imagine a story behind what you see depicted in the piece.
• Speculate about why the artist created this work.