Ekphrastic Poetry: Writing Poems Inspired by the Other Lively Arts
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When a poet visits an outstanding art gallery, or attends a performance of a memorable play or concert, it’s a very good bet that he or she will be inspired to write a poem about the experience. Poems that are generated in this firsthand way are often called ekphrastic—a Greek term that means “a telling out”—and have been widely read and appreciated for centuries, including the current one. They typically represent a poet’s personal response to a specific work of art from another genre—usually from the visual domains of painting and sculpture, but often from music, dance or theater.
This seminar can be viewed as a spontaneous, “de-regulated” excursion into writing some genuinely inventive poetry. It will begin on the first day with a close look at some surefire strategies that have been used, with amazing success, by poets of the past. Then, with the help of some irresistible prompts from the other disciplines (including at least one visit to a notable Door County art gallery), participants will start creating ekphrastic poems of their own—one poem per day. The majority of class-time will then be spent sharing and discussing these newly-inspired ekphrastic works in a supportive workshop setting,
To sum up: this week-long creative adventure will provide imaginative poets with a rare opportunity to transform non-literary works of art into artful words on paper, and to share them— not only with with their fellow workshoppers, but with the rest of the world as well.
Marilyn L. Taylor holds an MA in linguistics and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Formerly the Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin and the city of Milwaukee, she is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently Step on a Crack (Kelsay Books, 2016). Her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Able Muse, Measure, and the Random House anthology titled Villanelles. Taylor has been awarded First Place in a number of national and international poetry contests, and recently received the Margaret Reid Award from Winning Writers for verse in traditional forms. Currently a resident of Madison, Taylor facilitates independent poetry workshops, readings, and presentations locally, statewide, and elsewhere.