Friday, April 23, 2010

Winner of the ekphrastic poem contest

where is the door?

after Brian Jungen’s Bush Capsule 


invitation : light

softshelled, spiked

arced and hungry

a skin tense stretched

round, asking why

(mind the ovoids)

don’t you come in?


Congrats to Gillian Wigmore. Her book, soft geography, won the 2008 Relit award.  Her work has been published in magazines, short listed for prizes, and anthologized.  She lives in Prince George, BC.  I'll be sending out a copy of Unleashed shortly.

Thanks to Kevin Connolly for making the selection.

There were some very fine entries, and a few, such as those from Alessandro Porco and Kevin McPherson Eckhoff, really made me think about the possibilities of ekphrastic poetry and remind me that so much avant-garde work is absolutely enmeshed in the practice it's actually hard to think of the practice as somehow detached, or separate. See Thom Donovan's thoughts on this over at Harriet. As I have said elsewhere, I generally include two ekphrastic poetry projects in my Intro to Poetry class. The first involves flat art, paint or other visual and/or still mediums. The second involves conceptual art. The results are instructive.

What are we doing when we describe art? How does the way we craft a poem reflect the way the work was created? For more on this check out my earlier post After Ekphrasis, on Harriet. Wigmore's poem captures something of the architecture of Jungen's piece, the minimalist aesthetic, the well crafted simplicity. Block by block how he crafts the most potent symbols out of the most banal objects, which is what Wigmore is doing in her response with lines such as "a skin tense stretched." Deceptively simple. When the design is elegant, the idea the gesture of the poem arrive similarly.

Do have a look at the image that Wigmore is responding to. But let the poem work a little before you do.

Next up, prose poem.

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