Experimental process and ekphrasis

Hello poets and readers,

Sometimes I’m amazed and delighted by other forms of art and want to respond in poetry. I want to go further than simply responding through the content of my work. I want the dynamics of the other art form to effect the structures of my poetry, to help invigorate and update my poetry, in what I call a radical ekphrasis. In a recent article, published in Axon, I address the popular topic of ekphrasis – writing in response to other forms of art, and show that the close association the word has with visual arts is an entirely modern one, and that the ancient understanding of ekphrasis was one of the general ability to make a scene vivid.

It’s a hybrid work that includes academic discussion and creative responses, presenting five poetic experiments which attempt to balance modern and ancient understandings of ekphrasis as they react to works of graphic design, journalism, Indigenous painting, as well as sculpture and installations. The final poem embraces the idea of notional ekphrasis, a response to an imaginary work of art. The poems explore Charles Olson’s idea that form is never more than an extension of content (1972, 338) and Lyn Hejinian’s equally important idea that ‘form is not a fixture but an activity’ (1983). The article evaluates how the intention of finding new structures has affected the process of writing and the content of the poetry. You can read the full article here.


Hejinian, L [1983] 2009 The rejection of closure, Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/69401/the-rejection-of-closure

Olson, C 1972 ‘Projective verse’, G Perkins (ed.) American poetic theory, Holt, Reinhardt & Winston, New York, 336-342 Winston, New York, 336-342

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