Poetry Studio

EKPHRASTIC POETRY

Ekphrastic Poetry is poetry inspired by art.

According to Jan Greenberg (2001), poets might look at a work of art and respond in different ways. Here are three possibilities:

Stories
The poet looks at the artwork and imagines a story. The art might conjure a memory or a narrative from her/his own imagination.
Voices
The poet enters the artwork and speaks in the voice of a subject - an object or thing - depicted there.
Impressions
The poet identifies the subject of the artwork and describes what she/he sees, such as line, shape, texture, and color. The text often goes beyond description and moves into interpretation.

 

Books of poetry for children inspired by art:

Greenberg, Jan (Ed.). Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World.
Abrams, 2008
Greenberg, Jan (Ed.) Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American
Art. Abrams, 2001
Hopkins, Lee Bennett (Ed.). World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Abrams, 2018
Rowden, Justine. Paint Me a Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art. WordSong, 2005

Poet Irene Latham has posted several ekphrastic poems in "Artspeak!" on her blog, Live Your Poem. She began "Artspeak!" in 2015 as part of her "Poem-a-Day" Project for National Poetry Month (April).

 

Below is an example of an ekphrastic poem written by a fourth-grade student. It is based on Starry Night Over the Rhône by Vincent van Gogh.

Starry night
On the beach
Small suns
Reflecting off water
TALL TOWERS

Coming out of the sea

Different colors of the sky

Growing,

Darker,

Darker,

Darker.


Goodnight.

by K. C.

Page last updated 11/04/18

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