Friday, July 6, 2018

To the Lighthouse: Ekphrastic Tanka

                                                                                                     the muse rising
                                                                                                     from a sea of words
                                                                                                     covers her breasts ...
                                                                                                     I am pregnant
                                                                                                     with verses of longing

                                                                                                     Chen-ou Liu

In Greek, ekphrasis means the description of a work of art, and it "has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness" (Wikipedia Ekphrasis entry). An ekphrastic tanka is a tanka inspired or stimulated by a work of art, and through describing and reflecting on this piece of art, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

Selected Tanka:

waiting room
the thousand sporting naiads
of my schizophrenia
as if by magic
from Monet’s Water Lilies

Grant Savage

i want to become
a Klimt woman
dangling
off the canvas
dripping golden light

Pamela A. Babusci

how like love
barefoot through the open door
too much perfume
for one heart to hold
lilacs in full bloom

Claire Everett

heading home
this autumn evening
lamplight
through a bedroom window --
you, in the corner of my mind

Susan Constable

alone at twilight
doing tonglen practice
I see the face
in The Scream
... and mine overlapping

Chen-ou Liu

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