Friday, June 17, 2011

Writing Prompt: Ekphrastic Poetry

Ekphrastic poetry is about or in response to art. You can read more about it and some examples here on

For today’s prompt, go to a museum (or an artist's website, a museum website, a library, etc.) and choose an image that moves you. It can be any kind of art – a painting, photograph, sculpture, etc. Look at closely for at least five full minutes. (If you need to, set a timer.) Notice the colors, the characters, setting, tone, texture, etc. Just look at it and take in the details.

Then, write. Write for five to ten minutes. You might find that you write directly about the piece or perhaps, if you chose a painting, imagine the scene before or after the painting. You might consider the other visitors looking at the piece now or when it was first created. You might find that something in the piece provides an image or metaphor or sensory memory that brings you to a completely different idea. Whatever happens is fine.

After you brainstorm for a period, re-read what you wrote. Underline the main ideas and perhaps use them as the basis for a more polished piece that you will continue working on.

Would you share your writing or process below?

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