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Friday, June 25, 2010

Poetry Friday--Ekphrastic Poetry

Ekphrastic--now there's a mouthful! Simply stated ekphrastic poetry, is poetry about art. Don't bother looking for it in the dictionary--it's not there! (Is this some weird secret that only people interested in art and poetry know?)

In Quiet Light: Poems on Vermeer's Women by Marilyn McEntyre [811.6 MCE] is a book of poetry devoted entirely to the paintings of Vermeer.

Another book of ekphrastic poems is Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from around the World edited by Jan Greenberg [YA 808.81 SID].

The book is unique in that not only does it pair poetry and art, it also includes poems written in languages other than English and has the poem appear both in the original, and in translation. Since most everyone has seen Edvard Munch's painting, "The Scream," I'd like to share this poem from Side by Side by Gunter Kunert, translated from German by Gerald Chapple.
The Scream
Edvard Munch


The scream renowned and polyglot
up close to the viewer; not a man,
not a woman, just
pure human essence, an expression
of archaic horror.
Meanwhile we are walking
in the background side by side
undeterred, as far as we could tell,
by the painter's
view of our own character.
To learn more about ekphrastic poetry, visit Poets.org for an informative article with links to many examples.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up for this week may be found at The Art of Irreverence hosted by Amy Graves, who also happens to be a New Hampshire librarian!

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