W105 |Explorations in Ekphrasis: The Poetry of Art


3:30 - 5:00 p.m. EST


1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22 (3/1, 3/8)

6 Sessions with 2 Additional Optional

Limit 20 Participants



From the ancient to contemporary poets, a long tradition exists of rendering works of art into poems. This popular genre, known as ekphrastic poetry, includes responses to painting, sculpture, photography, and more. But how can a poet’s eye (or tongue!) shape our experience of what we see, and to what end? To what extent are such poems meant to stand on the their own? By discussing a wide variety of ekphrastic poems and their respective artworks, we will examine the techniques poets use to draw inspiration from, interrogate, celebrate, and transform the visual into the verbal as well as share our own reactions. Intended for anyone interested in poetry, art, and interpretation.

Guest speakers will include two poets and a museum curator.

Please note: two extra classes are added to the semester for those who wish to write and workshop their own ekphrastic poems.

Kate Sontag earned an MFA at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and retired from Ripon College. Sontag is co-editor of After Confession: Poetry as Autobiography (Graywolf Press); has published extensively in poetry anthologies, literary journals, and craft books, most recently Verse Virtual, One, and Tupelo Quarterly, and The Strategic Poet (Terrapin Books). She has received a variety of awards in poetry, most recently 2nd place in Muriel Craft Baily Award, Comstock Review; May Bumby Severy Award for excellence in teaching, Ripon College.

This course will not be recorded.

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