There is no known measure
for the distance between.
No earnest negotiation
nor calculated navigation
will see you there--
No puerile charm
no palsied spell
will release you.
And how could you ever guess
that the god you created,
for just this occasion would retire,
leaving behind an old book
of ghost-written homilies,
preserved on aged onionskin
in the limp leather of cold comfort.
Steve Deutsch, a semi-retired practitioner of the fluid mechanics of mechanical hearts and heart valves, lives with his wife Karen--a visual artist, in State College, PA. Steve writes poetry, short fiction and the blog: email@example.com. His most recent publications have been in Eclectica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, The Drabble, New Verse News, Silver Birch Press, Misfit Magazine and One-sentence poems. As an adult, Steve had the good fortune to sit in on two poetry classes taught by first class poets and teachers. He has been writing poetry ever since.
Over two years, The Ekphrastic Review has grown into a vibrant, dynamic portal of writing inspired by visual art.
We don't believe in charging reading fees, submission fees, or any other fees and we have not received any grants. Ekphrastic is entirely noncommercial- with all time and creativity a generous donation of the participating artists and writers.
If you would like to support The Ekphrastic Review, you can send a donation of any amount through PayPal, using the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much!
You can also purchase a small artwork from Lorette's Etsy page. All Ekphrastic readers and writers receive 25% off any Etsy work. There are over 100 to choose from!
Click here to visit shop: Lorette's Art
use coupon code at checkout: EKPHRASTIC25
All proceeds from purchases through this channel will be directed into working on and promoting The Ekphrastic Review.
Ever wonder about who reads us?
Our readership fluctuates constantly between 1000 and 2000 unique visitors a week. It's safe to say 1500 on average because it seldom dips under 1100 and occasionally veers above 2000.
For a small poetry journal maintained by a total of one person, this is pretty phenomenal- thank you! I think we can do better and get more readers to see the wonderful variety of works, to find more people who want to experience art and poetry in this way. I welcome your ideas for promotion. And please share your favourite poems and stories on your social media!
Do you have a journal, newsletter, talk show, podcast, writers' group, magazine? If you'd like to do a story about us, let us know!
I've been using my own Facebook page for all of my endeavours but a page just for Ekphrastic is in the works- I'm hoping we can grow that way. I have a few other ideas too and welcome yours.
questions, thoughts, ideas?
The Blue Church
You may think they
are gone for good,
or in the sky above,
members solidify those
of their arguments,
to win. Bickering
This poem was written in response to the surprise challenge, ekphrastic poems on Canadian art.
Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since childhood in Pittsburgh. She is a writer and story performer. Her Legacy of Honor series feature strong Italian-American women. Her poetry and essays appear or are forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, the A-3 Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Peacock, and Postcard Poems and Prose among others. Her first poetry chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, was just released by Finishing Line Press. Joan's picture books from Theaqllc, Whoosh!, Summer in a Bowl, Rosa and the Red Apron, and Rosa's Shell celebrate food and family. Her award-winning short stories are collected in Simply a Smile. You can find more about her work on her blog at www.joanleotta.wordpress.com
My Grandfather on a Summer Evening
(after Mark Strand)
When the summer sun slants
towards the horizon, casts its eerie light,
the shadows of the peach and quince trees lengthen
on the grass, the Rose of Sharon glows stark white.
My grandfather, a cigarette between his thumb and forefinger,
a glass of brandy on the table by his side
sits on the porch and looks down upon his small domain
his reward for hours days weeks months years
spent in the dark of the shoe factory
stretching pieces of leather over wooden forms.
Soon the red-hot cinder of my grandfather’s cigarette
the cold flickering light of the fireflies
will dot the darkness, and still he will sit,
ponder the marvels of Ancient Greece,
Alexander who hailed from his own small piece
of that great territory, ponder the wonders of the universe--
as if thinking could protect him.
My grandfather will come indoors,
his thoughts will come with him
as the fruit trees, the shrubs, the currant
and the blueberry, dig their roots in deeper,
in his garden the cornstalks grow silk
tomatoes turn from green to red.
He will settle into his dark oak Morris chair
drape his arms over the carved lions’ heads.
Then he will look up, notice me
sitting in front of him on the leather Turkish cushion. He’ll lean forward
our knees touching now, take my hands in his:
“There is only one God, and He loves everyone
no matter how small.”
This poem was inspired by another from Mark Strand, 1979, "My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer." Click here to read it. The artwork shown is an editorial selection and was not the prompt for this poem.
Leah Johnson is a poet, writer, teacher, and musician. She was a full-time professor in the Writing Studies Program at American University in Washington, DC. for twenty-years and is a member of the Surrey Street Poets. Her work has been published in Green Mountains Review Online, The Healing Muse, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. In previous incarnations, she has been a journalist, co-founder and artistic director of Georgetown’s Dumbarton Concert Series; US coordinator for Yehudi Menhuin’s outreach program Live Music Now!, and a piano teacher.
A Ukrainian Pioneer's First Winter
She dreamed in colour: wheat fields golden
under a sky so blue and endless she felt
it lapping at the shores of eternity, kissing
the lids of her still-closed eyes.
She didn't speak the language well. It still felt strange on her tongue.
Alien as a new handle on an old shovel. But she was learning.
Sometimes she caught herself thinking in English.
It was only when the summer fled and the autumn faded; when
the snows fell thick and deep and the world rested under
a blanket of its own hydrological weaving that the words she practiced -- softly
speaking them to herself -- emerged from her superior temporal gyrus while she slept.
For the first time her dreams were as snow-white and sky-black as the world outside.
She dreamed in black and white: birch bark visions of
scattered stars in the interminable firmament, winking
and curious. The milky way, a salt traders road beyond her reach.
Campfires a horizon line away. Moonlight.
Snow under the black.
But her shovel handle was worn in the places she had gripped it
during uncountable Ukrainian winters weathered. Her tongue still formed
old world words without a second thought. And when she dreamed in the language
of her grandmother, the colours of the land she left blossomed anew like the smoke
from her morning cook-fire, curling into the pale new-sewn sky.
Jack Rossiter-Munley is a freelance writer, editor, and podcast producer based in New York City. He is the producer and technical director for Poetry Spoken Here; the co-host of Close Talking, a poetry analysis podcast, and Party Bard, a Shakespeare podcast; and the host of the New Books in National Security podcast. He is also editor-in-chief of trolltennis.com.
The Sleeping Gypsy
It is the witching hour. It is Sunday, July 11th, 1897. S. A. Andrée is about the happiest man in the world and if not the happiest, perhaps, detrimentally, the most confident. Tucked in, asleep in his bed in Sweden, gathering his energy, he dreams, not of Örnen, his balloon, but of himself – himself as an African man in simple drag. Exhausted after having flown his village, he decides to crash. Feet swollen from the joyous flight, spreading himself out beneath the full moon, he smiles at his freedom, the luxury of the open path, the exhilaration of the unknown. He begins to drift. Floating in the space between consciousness and unconsciousness, at the door of the subconscious, that is, the sub-subconscious, his young friend Frænkel, covered from head to toe in the hair of the sun, approaches him from the north, and attempts to speak. Where words are intended a roar escapes in which is heard the crunch of snow beneath boots wrapped in the winds of the uncharted Arctic, that shadow of white. In a dream-logic, Andrée’s bones interpret this as an auspicious omen and for an instant, everything is frozen in place, which is to say, both past and future, the present’s determiners, lose weight. There is no better condition in which confidence can know.
Sacha Archer is a Canadian writer residing in Ontario. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as filling Station, ACTA Victoriana, h&, illiterature, NōD, Experiment-O, and Matrix. His most recent chapbooks are Detour (Spacecraft Press, 2017), The Insistence of Momentum (The Blasted Tree, 2017), and Acceleration of the Arbitrary (Grey Borders, 2017), with two chapbooks forthcoming: TSK oomph(Inspiritus Press) and upRoute (above/ground press). One of his online manifestations is his blog at https://sachaarcher.wordpress.com
One Viewer’s Response to Emily Carr’s Red Cedar
That is one mighty leg
jutting out from beneath
her flouncy green skirt!
All sinew and ropy muscle,
it supports a woman of
— and heaven help the man
who stands in her way!
This poem was written for the Surprise Challenge, ekphrastic poetry on Canadian paintings.
Known primarily for his Japanese-style micropoetry, Bill Waters also writes ekphrastic poetry, found verse, book spine poetry, and all manner of short prose. He lives in Pennington, New Jersey, U.S.A., with his wonderful wife and their two amazing cats.
Eva Gouel’s Last Tango with Picasso
"Women are machines for suffering."-- Pablo Picasso
For all the machismo
of your slashing diagonals
you cannot bear the absence
of our close embrace,
the demise of your dominance.
So on canvas you dance your denial:
one primal stroke dissects
the curve of my neck
you slant the slope of my shoulders
into the flatline of the future.
The breasts you once kissed,
the womb you might have rounded
are in your hands half-moons
burdened with the guache of grief
sisters of the love-sick moon
who illuminates the anguish
of your blank stare.
You make certain
no one else will caress
the flesh you slice
from my thighs
that my dismembered fingers
will grasp no other shoulders
in a sudden lunge
submitting to another’s will.
The love letter you write
where your angles part my legs
shortens the single step
between love and death
between the red-green-yellow-blue
of children’s toys with which
you paint my moods
and the black
of your bladed lines.
And while you remake my mind
into an empty latticework
my eyes remain open but unseeing
lips still and silent.
With this dance of death
your genius flowers
yet transforms me--
into your milonga, the scene
of an immortal crime.
This poem was first published in A Rustling and Waking Within: Poems Inspired by the Arts in Ohio, ed. Sharon Fish Mooney (Ohio Poetry Association Press, 2017).
A Pushcart Prize nominee, Jennifer Hambrick was a winner in the 2017 international Golden Triangle Haiku Contest and received prizes in the 2017 Montenegrin International Haiku Competition (English) and the 2017 Kaji Aso Studio International Haiku Competition (Boston). Her debut chapbook Unscathed (NightBallet Press), was nominated for the Ohioana Book Award. Her work has appeared in the Santa Clara Review, Third Wednesday, Mad River Review, Heron Tree, Pudding Magazine, River River, Muddy River Poetry Review, the major Japanese newspapers The Asahi Shimbun (The Morning Sun) and The Mainichi (The Daily News), Modern Haiku, and many more. Jennifer Hambrick is founder and editor of the International Women's Haiku Festival. A classical musician and public radio broadcaster and web producer, Jennifer lives in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Her blog, Inner Voices, is at jenniferhambrick.com.
A Sharpshooter's Last Sleep
He lays on a mattress of hard earth
as if he has fallen asleep, one knee bent,
arms resting comfortably by his side
the way he might have lain at home in his own bed.
Leaves of a mulberry stir in the morning breeze.
The sounds of battle have faded but
traces of black powder smoke sour the air.
If I could kneel down with my ear close to his,
I might hear his mother's voice
calling him to morning chores before breakfast,
a call that will not rouse him today.
David Jibson grew up in western Michigan near the dunes and shores of Lake Michigan and now lives in Ann Arbor. He is retired from a 35-year career in Social Work, most recently with a Hospice agency. He is a member of the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle and co-editor of the literary and visual arts magazine, Third Wednesday.
Surprise Ekphrastic Challenge: Rene Magritte
The recent poem by Andrena Zawinski on Marilyn Monroe and Magritte provides a perfect segue to our new surprise challenge.
I am amazed still, thirty years after first standing in front of Magritte's paintings of bewildering dreams, by his ability to surprise.
Especially intriguing is how there always seem to be paintings we have never seen!
Magritte hated to be called a surrealist, which I suspect was a combination of conviction and a clever bit of showbiz and tongue in cheek. His paintings are the very definition of surrealism, but the artist wanted us to think beyond labels and how they directed our conclusions.
Your challenge is to use these ten prompts to write some poetry, prose, or fiction. Use one or try them all. See where contemplating Magrittian mysteries will take you.
There are no rules. Any form, any length, any genre, any painting. And any other Magritte painting, should you be hooked and want to go for more.
But please, send only your best as submissions for possible publication in The Ekphrastic Review.
We always take late submissions, because we will consider work responding to any artwork at any time. So if you are coming upon this challenge after the fact, you aren't excluded. But try to send your responses by the deadline.
August 1, 2017
I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Lorette C. Luzajic, editor, TER
Read my essay, "What is the Artist Trying to Say? Nothing, Says Magritte" published earlier in The Ekphrastic Review, from my book Truck, and Other Stories About Art.
Scroll down for writers, archive by month, and categories
(use search box above)
Meghan Rose Allen
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
John Scott Dewey
Suzanne E. Edison
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Julie Howard Hobson
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
John R. Lee
Lorette C. Luzajic
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Janet St. John
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Janice D. Soderling
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
All works of art or literature are used with permission of the creator or publisher, OR under public domain, OR under fair use. If any works have been used or credited incorrectly, please alert us so we can fix it!