Ekphrastic Poetry



Due 1 May 10am     (150 words)

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Since ekphrastic poetry is written to/with/through an image, you’ll need to write a poem based on the image (see attached file).

Try to avoid simply saying what is happening in the image—the viewer can figure that out on their own. Instead, say something that would not be noticed by a casual viewer. Is there some detail that catches your eye and changes how you think about the image? If there is a figure in the image, try getting inside their mind. What are they thinking or feeling? How did they come to be in the scene they are in? What are they hoping for or imagining? If you are looking at a landscape, what might the landscape say if it could talk? Or what’s missing from the landscape? Or who might live there and what might their life be like? The vast potential of ekphrasis is in its limitlessness. Be creative with it! A list of prompts to help you get started is below.

Create a title that helps the reader enter the poem.

Add an epigraph to your poem attributing the work of art that inspired it.

For example, see how this poet handle it:


NO quotes in your poem.

Use attached file as format to write.

Some potential prompts to get you started:

Describe the image in an interesting way—avoid simply saying what is obviously happening but instead try to extract something unnoticed or unexpected from the image.

Write about the people or objects in the image: what are they doing? What are they thinking? What will they be doing before/after the moment the image captures?

Make a narrative concerning the people or objects in the image.

Transfer the spirit, feeling, or emotion of the image into your own words.

Describe the image to someone who only understands nonsense.

Write as if you are inside the image. Which character or object would you be? What voice would you take on?

The poem can take any shape you want on the page. You might experiment with how you use that space to carry over something from the image.

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