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Ecphrastic or ekphrastic


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Explore the Craft of Writing
Greek Verse

Ecphrastic or ekphrastic Greek (speaking out) is a genre of verse that can be traced to ancient Greece and Plato's Republic, Book X. It is considered a rhetorical device using one art form to define another. In this forum it would be defined as a poem inspired by another piece of art. Originally the inspiration was confined to visual art such as a painting or sculpture but it has expanded to include auditory or sensory art forms such as a symphony or dramatization. The word painting should be a lucid self contained description of the inspiration and should be as vivid as the art it describes. It can go beyond the inspiration providing history or dramatizing, telling a story to expand the vision.

"Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech."Simonides(556 BC - 468 BC)

The elements of Ecphrastic verse are:

  1. a genre of verse inspired by another piece of art.
  2. frame, meter, rhyme at the discretion of the poet.

    West Clare, August by Brendan Lyons inspired by Old Irish Farmer (sorry I couldn't read the artist's name)oldIrishFarmer.jpg

    The wind, rippling across unruly fields,
    is chill, not warm, on this summer night,
    and it runs in a rush down the narrow road
    between tangled bushes of unripe berries.
    A tall shape appears, dark from the darkness,
    a bicycle of the sturdy kind, its dim light dancing,
    of a type much admired by bachelor farmers.
    A song, a sweet tenor, separates from the air,
    and the clear heart-breaking song of youth
    arises: it is the thrush-like throat of Dinny Joe,
    who was all of eighty-four when the sister died,
    his housekeeper, last year or the year before?
    I retreat without words into silent shadows
    for I would not for the world interrupt him
    as he cycles into darkness, legend and death.

Another eckphrastic inspired by Knee Deep by Marieluise Hutchinson
91748_bda1006cd94f00bb4f36358473878430_large  knee deep.jpg                                    

January by Tõnis Veenpere                                                                                  

Minus eleven,
drifts of snow aglow.
Your house --

quiet, lit, and occupied.
I'm under the maple
remembering your laughter

your gentle conversation,
and I miss you.
A windless chill.

The smoke from your
hearth hangs still
in the purple sky.              

Pastry Chef by Judi Van Gorder
I Remember When
Elephant Tree  
Heaven's Chaos

And one inspired by another poem.
Just my reaction after reading
The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Elliot

Advice to old Prufrock by Judi Van Gorder

You prowl the streets at night
haunting skid row dives.
The catlike yellow fog clouds your mind
and lulls your soul to sleep.

The women may speak
of another hero,
it is no matter,
jealousy diminishes.
You have known them,
yet still they distract.
You not they
decide your course.

The clock ticks steadily
but it hasn't stopped.
Fear and doubt freeze the spirit
just as hope opens the door
and allows artistry to flow freely.

Step away from the dusk
and walk into the dawn.
The mermaids sing for you
if you just open your heart.

to take pen in hand
and you may find
some will listen.


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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