NaPoWriMo National Poetry Writing Month Day 9 Prompt for Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Posted April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014

“I want to see thirst
In the syllables,
Tough fire
In the sound;
Feel through the dark
For the scream.”

― Pablo Neruda


Welcome to Day 9 of the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenge. I enjoy learning a little more about poetry, re-discovering various poets and poetry forms during NaPoWriMo. For some today’s prompt may be unfamiliar and a bit more challenging. I hope you’ll embrace the idea of stretching and perhaps writing something that you might not normally consider writing during this challenge.


Below the prompt meant for tomorrow you’ll find what I came up for the April 8th Prompt.

PROMPT for April 9th 2014


Prompt: Write an Ekphrastic Poem

Write an Ekphrastic Poem based on a Painting (work of art).


Huh? What?


Basically and Ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by another Art form. Often it is a poem that is either a response to a Painting OR a poem that gives a painting a voice (I like Ekphrastic poems that do this the best). Your poem should go beyond a word description of a painting. One of the most famous Ekphrastic poems is John Keats’ 1819 poem Ode On a Grecian Urn (based on a Greek Urn, Keats saw and sketched).


A slightly out of the box example is the song ‘ Vincent by Don McLean (the words are a poem about Vincent Van Goghs 1889 painting Starry Night)


Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds and violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue


There is also an excellent 1961 poem by Ann Sexton about the painting called:


The Starry Night

The town does not exist

except where one black-haired tree slips

up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.


Your challenge is to find a painting you like. Use the title of the painting in the title of your poem. Write an Ekphrastic poem. And don’t spend more than an hour on composing it (unless you really really insist).


The ideal you may want to reach later with your poem involves fine tuning and crafting what you write at a latter time. Right now you are creating a rough first draft. Later you may want to spend a lot more time on your poem. The poet in an ekphrastic poem uses words, and the syntax of language and lines whereas the painter has composition, use of space, color shapes etc. They painter employs a level of abstraction/surrealism in their painting and createse the illusion of movement or energy with brush strokes, color, lighting illusions etc. The poet can play with these ideas too, creating movement and energy with line length, line breaks, metre, rhymes, punctuation. The framing or focus of the poem is achieved as much as what is left out as what is left in… just as the painting may have cropped something out of its view that will now never be seen.


An article by Alfred Corn about Ekphrasis some will find worth reading is posted here at the Academy of American Poets

What I wrote for yesterday’s prompt:

Prompt: Hobo Poems


Poem Starter 1408
By Christopher J. Jarmick


This train whistle in the distance
Reminds me I once travelled
by thumb and rail across this country
But now possessions weigh me down.


By Christopher J. Jarmick


This song begins with footsteps of men in line
Outside a soup kitch’n under Hobo’s welcome sign
The drizzle, the rain
The wind, the cold
The sounds of freight train
The part-time workers
Hobo men
Wearing rags and sitting
at tables in groups of ten.


The songs sung loud
Are full of hope
The songs sung proud
Help us to cope
Tomorrow more work to do
By underpaid Hobo crew
Tonight we eat
Hot bowl of soup
Buttered bread
Delicious Hobo treat.


Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2014


Keep writing!!!


Read more about National Poetry Month 2014 and NaPoWrimo in my 3 Part Series here:

The root of the word Poetry is from the Greek ποιέω (poieō), “‘I
make’”). , poiesis, meaning a “making” or ‘creation’


Poetry is Everything


One comment

  1. […] POETRYisEVERTHING‘s prompt for day 9 is to write an Ekphrastic poem, a poem based on a painting or another art form. As Chris explains, the ekphrastic poem can be a response to a painting, or it can give a painting a voice. To read more, you might check out a handout that I found at readwritethink.org. […]

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