Art from Art: Ekphrasis

Event Details

Art from Art: Ekphrasis

Time: May 23, 2011 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Location: Jacob Edwards Library
Street: 236 Main St.,
City/Town: SOUTHBRIDGE
Website or Map: http://www.jacobedwardslibrar…
Phone: 508-764-5426
Event Type: poetry, reading, and, de-construction
Organized By: Margaret Morrissey
Latest Activity: May 6, 2011

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Event Description

In April, Jacob Edwards Library and three published authors presented Common Threads as part of a state-wide celebration of poetry. The event was very successful and engaging. As a follow up to Common Threads, featuring Mark Wagner, Leila Philip and Brad Davis - poets reading poems with Massachusetts connections - we hope to expand this event by having you write a poem, and then we'll get back together again to discuss our new poems. But this challenge is to write not just any poem, but a particular kind of poem.

On Monday, May 23rd, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the Jacob Edwards Library Reading Room in Southbridge we will gather again to present Art From Art: Ekphrasis

To begin our common writing project, consider the Greek word "ekphrasis."

The concept of ekphrasis might have its origins in Platos ideas of forms. Plato famously thought that our world was a kind of shadow world and that each shadow-thing in the world held within it an essence or ideal form. In the Republic, Book X, Plato says that when a bed maker constructs a bed, the bed maker has in mind a sense of - bedness -- a sense of the essence or ideal form of what a bed is and
what a bed is for. In short, ekphrasis is making something with the essence of that something in mind.

When we apply ekphrasis to poetry, the aim is to construct a new poem based on a grasp of the essence of some other work of art. We can see this idea worked out, for example, by thinking about W. H. Audens "Musée des Beaux-Arts." Here Auden is looking at the painting of "The Fall of Icarus," by Bruegel, and concludes:

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Audens poetic device is both simple and complex here: He creates a poem in the 1950s by reflecting upon a Bruegel painting from the 1560s, and that painting is trying to capture the essence of Bruegels reading of the myth of Icarus from about 400 B.C.

What were inviting you to do is to consider practicing ekphrasis with one of the poems weve presented to you. You may relate to the essence of the father son in "The Lost Pilot," or to the theme of recognition of ones identity in "In the Waiting Room." Or perhaps you relate to the idea of victimhood in Occupation." We invite you to create synergy between your own experiences and what you find in one of the poems..., and get writing! If it helps, begin by imitating the poem you choose to focus on. The important thing is to get writing...,
and enjoy it.

We also invite you to get together again and discuss your writing with us on Monday, May 23rd, at 6:30, again at Jacob Edwards Library,236 Main Street,Southbridge, MA 01550

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