Ekphrasis

“Ekphrasis does not construct a rigid body. Its principle rather is to create relationships, connections. The ekphrastic body expands; its contemplative functioning is a mode of becoming rather than attempting to fix. It re-sees, re-perceives compositions; it assimilates, restructures, and makes something new, something that shares some of the skins and curves of its ‘object’ (for lack of a better word) but has stretched them into new shapes and dimensions.”

—Claire Barbetti, Ekphrastic Medieval Visions: A New Discussion in Interarts Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, p. 27)


Images to go with a few of my poems:

The postcard from “Elegy for Oneida Creek” (published in The Yale Review Online)

Some of the photos from “In Lockdown, Looking Through Found Photographs (published in DIAGRAM)

The found photo from “Three Children Covered Half by a Thumb” (slightly altered in the poem, and published in Narrative)

Counterclockwise from top left, details from paintings by Friedrich August von Kaulbach, Leopold Schmutzler, Franz von Lenbach, and Ludwig Knaus, viewed at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and mentioned in the poem “Museum” (published in Narrative)

At left, P. R. Vallée’s Harriet Mackie (The Dead Bride) (1804, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection of the Yale University Art Gallery), on which my poem “Harriet Mackie (The Dead Bride)” is based (published in Sycamore Review); at center, Antoine-François-Jean Claudet’s [Multiple Exposures of the Moon] (ca. 1846–52, the Met), mentioned in my poem “Camera Obscura” (published in Two Peach); at right, Pierre-Louis Pierson’s Scherzo di Follia (1863–66, printed 1940s, the Met), mentioned in my poem “Lemon and Pins” (published in Cream City Review)

The spoon and friend from “Summer Letter” (published in Arcturus)


“. . . ekphrasis, through its constitutive reference across media to that which is other than its textual self, has this power to point (in a variety of ways) beyond its own literary texture and beyond its referents to a space of meaning, to the need for meanings, elsewhere; and hence to undermine its own action even in its most fluent and exquisite expression.”

—Shadi Bartsch and Jaś Elsner, “Introduction: Eight Ways of Looking at an Ekphrasis” (Classical Philology, vol. 102, no. 1, 2007, p. vi)