Ekphrastic Challenge with FE Clark

Ekphrastic Challenge with FE Clark

Welcome to the first Ekphrastic Challenge of The Sonnetarium.  If you are unfamiliar with that term, ekphrasis, according to Wikipedia, “comes from the Greek for the description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical exercise, often used in the adjectival form ekphrastic, is a vivid, often dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined.”  So in short, we are going to look at art loaned to us by the artists themselves, and we are going to create our own poetic art from and about it.   

This experience will create unique poetry from our own worldviews and experiences.  An Ekphrastic challenge is like an ink blot/Rorschach test for the writer.  Artists are likely to see interpretations of their work that they hadn’t thought of, disagree with, are befuddled by and may even like.  Other writers may feel the same way about each other’s poems.  We all look at the world through the lens of a life we have led up to the second we encounter this found object like the painting of F.E. Clark.  The reactions are own and unique to us.  As you will see today in my examplar poem (not included in the contest just something to inspire, write against, et cetera), my reaction is pretty rough and bleak.  I will go ahead and give a content warning on the theme of domestic violence.

We’ll get to that poem in a moment.  First, let me introduce the painting and the artist.  

Today’s challenge features the art of F.E. Clark.  It is a piece entitled Daily Painting 9th February 2018.   F. E. Clark lives in Scotland, where she paints and writes - taking her inspiration from the magical landscape around her. Website: www.feclarkart.com  Twitter:  @feclarkart

Without any further ado, I present Daily Painting 9th, February 2018 followed by my Ekphrastic example sonnet, Landscape In A Busted Lip:

A Landscape In A Busted Lip
by Kristin Garth

He says, one day, your mouth has grown an eye.
Chartreuse unblinking interloper juts
between the upper, lower lips, once shy,
compressed unless requested, now confronts
with vitriol in vitreous and will
not shut, avert it’s amphibious gaze
or look away.  He says, I’ll have to kill
it.  Close your eyes.  Poor choice of phrase,
he means the blue above he has control
of not this mutation green by which he’s seen
for what he is — a dangerous animal,
necessitates evolution. He means
it, knocks you nearly over from the blow.  
He had no choice.  He could not let you grow. 



- Write a poem about whatever you see in this painting, any form or style.

-  No more than two pages please due to the space constraints of The Sonnetarium.

- Email it to:  thesonnetarium@yahoo.com with an author bio, picture by Thursday August 9th.

- One winner will be picked and featured in a future issue of #thesonnetarium.

- Thank you, in advance, for being a part of The Sonnetarium and playing along. 


Next week will be a feature on poet and 8 Poems editor/founder Tim Duffy.  It’s a fascinating interview on the subject of Renaissance literature, numerology, astrology (albeit perhaps reluctantly on his part), Catholicism, what it takes to get a poem in 8 Poems and many other things  Also, the winning poetry submission of my pop up sub call for one brilliant poem will be published here at #thesonnetarium.  So stay tuned for that.  It is going to be great. 


I had two kinky sonnets published this week in Soft Cartel.  You can listen to me read King of the Road here.

The one with all the 8s, Tim Duffy, and Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

The one with all the 8s, Tim Duffy, and Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

Stream of Karcher Consciousness on Slender Man (And a Poem About Seinfeld)

Stream of Karcher Consciousness on Slender Man (And a Poem About Seinfeld)