As a response to a work of visual art, the ekphrastic poem inevitably goes far beyond description and often leads poet and reader into all sorts of associations, insights, memories, feelings, revelations. In our week-long intensive course we will probe the nature of the ekphrastic. We will work on new poems that respond to what is “out there” in the given work of art while at the same time surfacing the richness the artwork generates “in here,” i.e. deep within the poet’s mind. Our goal for the week will be to generate, share, and discuss at least three (and possibly more) new ekphrastic poems per student. Postings of these new poems should include the artwork being responded to, and thus internet links to relevant visual art will certainly be useful in that process. Our workshop discussions will center on your poems, and can include discussion of any revisions to those poems. We will also discuss important ekphrastic poems by other writers. For the first day of our week together, please be prepared to post a new ekphrastic poem of your own.
Fred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Said Not Said (2017), designated an Honored Book by the Massachusetts Book Awards. Earlier books include The Looking House, Full Moon Boat, and House on Water, House in Air, and Tipping Point, winner of the Washington Prize. Marchant has translated works by several contemporary Vietnamese poets and edited Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford.