For as long as we can remember, poets have addressed the sun and moon, distant lovers and heroes, while also separately singing odes to the gods. The Surrealist painter Leonora Carrington once said, “We learn about the soul, and we have to listen to the soul.” Just as some poets use music for inspiration, ekphrasis is not simply a description of an art work, but influenced by the art work and, sometimes, the artist’s life. Carrington’s own paintings evidence her own efforts towards querying the world she inhabited beyond the limits of perception; her life also reveals many lively, unconventional turns that inspire and provide unexpected permissions, something poets often require — consciously or not.
In the course of this workshop, we will look at a the work and lives of a variety of artists, as well as poets, and consider how ekphrasis can extend beyond mere description of the visual arts but may also be combined with address (apostrophe) or incorporate the ode as a means to reflect appreciation, and content from, an artist’s work.
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Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.