As a response to a work of visual art, the ekphrastic poem inevitably goes far beyond description and often leads poet and reader into all sorts of associations, insights, memories, feelings, revelations. In our week-long intensive course we will probe the nature of the ekphrastic. We will work on new poems that respond to what is “out there” in the given work of art while at the same time surfacing the richness the artwork generates “in here,” i.e. deep within the poet’s mind. Our goal for the week will be to generate, share, and discuss at least three (and possibly more) new ekphrastic poems per student. Postings of these new poems should include the artwork being responded to, and thus internet links to relevant visual art will certainly be useful in that process. Our workshop discussions will center on your poems, and can include discussion of any revisions to those poems. We will also discuss important ekphrastic poems by other writers. For the first day of our week together, please be prepared to post a new ekphrastic poem of your own.
Fred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Said Not Said (Graywolf Press, 2017). Earlier books include Full Moon Boat, The Looking House, Tipping Point, and House on Water, House in Air. Marchant has co-translated work by several Vietnamese poets, and edited Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford. An emeritus professor of English, he is founding director of the Suffolk University Poetry Center in Boston.