(E) Ekphrastic Poetry

Poetry that imitates, critiques, or reflects upon nonliterary art, or that serves as a vivid description of a scene can be described as ekphrastic poetry.

There are many talented WordPress artists who post ekphrastic work, dealing with art or photography, such as Thin Spiral Notebook and Hortus Closus.

Paintings have long been the subject of poems. William Carlos Williams wrote a poem based on Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.

One of my favorite paintings is The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. Anne Sexton celebrated this painting by writing the poem, The Starry Night, featured here:

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of – shall I say the word – religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars. – Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother


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 night! This is how
I want to die.
It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:
into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

Read more about ekphrastic poetry or Anne Sexton.

Find out about poetry a to z.

Image: Google Images

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