LET ART INSPIRE YOUR POETRY: HOW TO BE “EKPHRASTIC”
June 17, 2017
Harold Washington Library, 400 S State Street, Room 3rd Floor-6N
Beth McDermott will help us explore the potential of ekphrastic poetry – poems written in response to other art forms. Poems submitted in advance will be critiqued at the meeting.
Degas’s The Dance Class, 1874
It’s the ballet master’s elbow we see mirrored in the foremost
casual second position, in the bleachers
where the waiting girls are as sharp-edged as the mirror-frame, poster
frame, doorframe, or crook
of two walls’ shell-colored crown molding.
Unwittingly, these sisters share their evergreen tree shape with
the cityscape. But the student who executes an arabesque or attitude (her leg is hidden under tulle)
knows the suggestion of épaulement is like an antique find or
swath of gild: take, she says, your cue from these walls brushed
a bluish eau-de-nil. This is how to
soften the bones of the thumb,
or the whole hand—inclined to curl like the rose’s whorl, the one near the base of the music-score stand.
~ Beth McDermott
Self-Portrait as Bunraku
My puppeteers, they move me well. One part of me trained
for thirty years so she could
control my right arm and head—
be my omozukai (read:
oh myself, I). She
is the part of me which is grace
and knows thoughtfulness
comes to my heart when she takes
my hand to my chin. Another part
spent twenty years, and so grasped my left arm. She is called sashizukai
(read: she is I), and is the one who feels
an arm gesticulating means I’ll empathize.
A third part of me, she started late,
an apprentice and so
controls only my feet.
Her name is ashizukai (read, I
seize I) because she still has to learn
even when soles abandon the ground
the body still holds
its shape. They each
control my limbs but wear black veils
so only this puppet is seen.
The final part of me became my voice, my tayu (read: for you) who chanted by the shamisen’s quivering notes. She tells my story and is the only one
who sits exposed,
and gives words their rough ululation.
~ Ariana Nash
Beth McDermott is the author of the chapbook How to Leave a Farmhouse (Porkbelly Press), and is an associate editor with RHINO. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Bayou, Terrain.org, DIAGRAM and Southern Humanities Review. Her reviews appear in American Book Review. She's an Assistant Professor of English at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.
You may send one poem for critique, preferably an ekphrastic poem. If possible, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with P & P in the subject line. Otherwise mail your poem to Wilda Morris, 499 Falcon Ridge Way, Bolingbrook IL 60440-2242. Deadline: June 5.
Fee: The workshop is free if you do not submit a poem. If you submit a poem for critique, there is a fee of $5 for members; $10 for non-members."
The fee must be paid for each poem submitted, even if you do not attend the meeting because the poems are critiqued in advance (leader feedback will be mailed to you if you are unable to attend the meeting). Please pay at the meeting, if you attend. Otherwise, mail your check made out to Poets & Patrons to the treasurer Beth Staas,1634 Barnsdale Rd. # 105, La Grange Park IL 60526. Membership dues of $20 can be paid at the same time. E- mail questions to Wilda. If you do not get a reply to an e-mailed poem, call Wilda at 630/739-2983 to be sure your poem was received.