Let Art Work for You


Ekphrasis poetry is a genre of poetry that deals with visual art. It is an exploration of visual art through language, attempting to evoke the same emotions in the reader as the artwork itself. It can also be used to expand on a work of art or explore deeper meanings as in John Keats’ “Ode to a Grecian Urn”. Ekphrasis poetry has been around since ancient times, with poets like Homer and Virgil writing about the sculptures of their day.

Ekphrasis poetry works by providing a written description of a visual image that evokes the same feelings as the artwork itself. The poet creates a vivid image of the artwork using language, allowing the reader to experience the artwork through words. The poet’s goal is to bring the artwork to life, to make the reader feel as if they are standing in front of the artwork itself.

This form can be used to describe any type of visual artwork, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and even films. The poem should focus on the visual elements of the artwork, such as color, texture, and composition. The poet should also pay attention to the emotional impact of the artwork, as this is what will evoke the same feelings in the reader.

It is a powerful way to explore the visual arts. By bringing the artwork to life through language, the poet can create an emotional response in the reader that mirrors the feelings evoked by the artwork itself. In this way, the poem can help to deepen the reader’s appreciation of the artwork. Ekphrasis can also be used to explore how an artist’s style has evolved over time, as well as how an artwork has been interpreted by different people.

Ekphrasis can also play a complementary role to a visual art. It can function similarly to a sedoka, meaning the poem can attempt to  convey an emotion that the piece of art conveys. Essentially, the poem will attempt to convey the same  emotion or elicit the same reaction as the piece of art. 

Ekphrasis poetry is a challenging form, as it requires a poet to be able to translate the visual elements of an artwork into words. The poet must be able to capture the same emotion as the artwork, while also conveying the meaning behind the artwork. However, when done well, ekphrasis poetry can be a beautiful and powerful way to explore the visual arts.

Featured Image Credit @ Austin Kleon

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