While at the AWP conference in Chicago, Tammy and I were able to swing by the Art Institute of Chicago. It was a great experience, and the art inspired quite a few poems. So I thought it might be nice to have an ekphrastic prompt today.
For ekphrastic poetry, poets use art as a prompt for their poetry. Often, the poems are a response or an elaboration of the original art.
Here are your ekphrastic prompts:
- In Bed The Kiss, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
- The Shootings of May Third 1808, by Francisco de Goya
- Moses, by Frida Kahlo
- Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper
Here’s my ekphrastic attempt (using Nighthawks):
-after Edward Hopper
You couldn’t tell me before our dinner,
so I didn’t know what to do after
except wander the streets without an aim–
how we originally found this town
with its bars and libraries full of clowns–
and I passed the alleyways and the same
windows you passed. I followed you under
the full moon and city lights, thinking you
might be as lost as I was. If you’re lost,
I’ll never be found, I’ll never be found.
In this whole city, I’m the only clown,
because I can see you making the most
of our time apart. My heart is so blue
watching you strike lightning and call thunder.
That is, do you have The Poetry Dictionary, by John Drury? It’s filled with poetic terms, poetic forms, poetry schools, poetry history, and more.