What is it in those thin shapes? And so
slim-dark against the cliffs
they come up like a sharp green fire,
an elven cunning to their wild tops.
What is it that strikes the spirit
as we contemplate that wood? Is it
that no light has snuck through? Or is it
the weirdness of its bent height? The fact
it grows above the rock, pillar-like, compelling
us to forge a path?
We’re hooked to their dark authority,
their stern, impartial beauty. These are our judges
before the bone silence, the no return.
Nell Prince studied English at St Andrews, was runner-up in Girton College's 2016 Jane Martin Prize, and has had work published by Sidekick Books, Measure, The Moth, The Road Not Taken, and Acumen. She lives in Lincolnshire.
1955 (after Kay Sage)
if i could fill the space
above my head with anything
painted, oiled or soaked with
colours, i know
i should like to brush the hand
of copper sculptures,
the repeated visions of Marilyn Monroe,
pink and green and pink and green and green and
pink, but i know
that i’d know,
standing in the cold, rocks hanging from my
one white bar across the window,
that I’d need you.
black and blue and hungry
the shapes and figures sparse,
my wall into the ragged breathing
and a bird in the room
Cameron Gorman is a journalist and writer living in Ohio. She is currently the editor in chief of Luna Negra, Kent State's literary arts journal. Website: https://cgorman.contently.com/
No Treachery of Maggots
They eat us up. Snack on the wounds of the world.
Who can blame them for saving themselves?
But, think of this: we might live on
In the lifecycle of a maggot.
Maggot to fly.
Egg to maggot to fly.
Let’s rename them. Something beautiful.
Call them what we want to be.
Use a word like Medjugorje.
Yes, call them Magritte. Remember
Ceci n’est pas une pipe?
This is not a pipe. This is a poem.
Thank goodness this is not a maggot.
And this is not
Kyle Potvin’s chapbook, Sound Travels on Water (Finishing Line Press), won the 2014 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. She is a two-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, The New York Times, Measure, JAMA, and others. She is an advisor to Frost Farm Poetry in Derry, NH, and helps produce the New Hampshire Poetry Festival. Kyle lives with her family in Southern New Hampshire.
Edgar Degas, L’Absinthe, 1876
I have seen you both in the morning street
Raving in the oily mud and the horse dung
Until the one of you takes a bottle to beat
The other’s back like a trampled rug
Then you fall in a heap on the canal bank
Tugging at each other in your shouting love.
You push and gripe and then lummox
Where you are, singing to everyone and to no one
Beside the junk and heaps of riffled slag.
Then you come in here slowly as if no one
Knew you, he—pretending to be a poet--
Watches the sun die out in the curtains.
You, listing, with eyes wrung out of sight,
Wake to find I pour you more absinthe.
Under your hovering bangs, a crooked stare
Hangs and drifts over your last good blouse.
It is your face that holds the corpse of a star,
A weak chinned light, that at first glance
Seems about to know, but upon a second look
Shows a constellation of bludgeoned grace.
Your pupils do not watch the emptying room
Nor study your glass’s green roil to white.
They do not read or see or presume.
Stubbed out, they wince at absinthe’s light:
Two black thumb prints on an empty carafe.
I have watched hands fumble to open all night
And watched them fumble to close, and laughed,
As miners’ wives do before husbands’ cenotaphs.
I talk to you for hours until I am ashamed.
There is an utter failure in staring a long time.
You have taught me this. I look away,
And look back again. Nothing of yours is mine,
And everything. Your shoe’s frilly tasseled lace,
Your blouse the colour of offal, hat supine.
To have you now would be to claim a grave,
And yet I’d have that grave, and not be honest
And work to keep you drunk and keep you late.
So when he looks away, I charge your glass.
You do not turn. You do not even look.
You say nothing. Your lips as still as a gash.
I empty out these emerald dregs in love,
And call you back to me with wormwood.
Andrew D. Miller
Andrew D. Miller is an American-born poet in Denmark, where he studied for his PhD in ekphrastic writing and photography. His poems have been widely published, in The Massachussett's Review, Ekphrasis, Iron Horse, Shenandoah, Spoon River Reivew, Laurel Review, Hunger Mountain, Rattle, New Orleans Review and more. He has been nominated for the Pushcart four times in total, three from Ekphrasis Magazine.
On My Way to Children's Art Class
to disappointment —
again my colours will be flat,
no life will leap from paper.
not knowing why
I face a rabbi’s portrait.
Not much to see — black,
stark black sinking away from
white prayer shawl, aging beard,
warmer shadowed skin.
No clear colour distracts.
Angular, awkward hands
lie in wait.
From within —
a phosphorescent glow.
His eyes urge me on
send me on my way.
I can continue on —
open your eyes,
use what you see
what you know,
bring forth only
what you are.
Ann Floreen Niedringhaus
Poems by Ann Floreen Niedringhaus, Saint Paul, MN, have appeared in numerous journals, such as Plainsong, Sojourners, The Coe Review, Rattle, Calyx, Albatross; and in anthologies such as, Country Doctor Revisited (Kent State University Press), Bound Together: Like the Grasses (Clover Valley Press, 2013). Her two poetry chapbooks are: Life Suspended (Poetry Harbor, 2003) and Parallel to the Horizon (Pudding House Publications, 2007). Bound Together, the second anthology of poems by Ann’s 20+ year long writing group, won the 2013 Northeastern MN Poetry Book Award while Ann was living in Duluth, MN, before her move to Saint Paul. A retired Social Worker/Nurse, Ann volunteers as a writing coach for the Wilder Foundation Youth Leadership Initiative and offers occasional writing workshops.
This is my river, she lisped, the blood flow
from the wine glass to my swollen lip.
It runs deeper than rib or bone.
It's my repair and moving home.
Ravens came to drink her tears.
She knew that nothing could stem their thirst.
Do stay awhile, she whispered,
I'll dance a song for you.
We'll drink together the winter through
and keep good company.
The moon was a glimmer in the stem of her glass,
her look tender as an open wound.
This poem was first published in Orbis Quarterly International Journal.
Scott Elder’s poems have been appeared in numerous magazines including The New Welsh Review, Southword (forthcoming), Orbis, The Moth, Poetry Salzburg, Cyphers, Cake, Nimrod International, The Antigonish Review, The French Literary Review, Crannog and The Journal. He was a runner-up in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2016 and among the winners of The Guernsey International Poetry Competition 2018 and Southport Writer’s Circle Competition 2017. His work has been highly commended in the Bristol Poetry Prize 2018, Poetry on the Lake International Competition 2018, Buzzwords Poetry Competition 2018, the Segora Poetry Competition 2015 the Brian Dempsey Memorial Competition 2017, and shortlisted in both the Fish Poetry Prize 2017 and the Plough Prize 2016 and 2017. His debut pamphlet, 'Breaking Away' 2015 was published by Poetry Salzburg and a first collection 'Part of the Dark' 2017 was published by Dempsey & Windle.
Poetry sites: https://www.scottelder.co.uk/
Editor's Note: Thank you to everyone who participated in this ekphrastic writing challenge. And thank you to Omar Odeh for the opportunity to be inspired by his wonderfully evocative artwork! If you aren't already aware, know that The Ekphrastic Review has two visual art prompts every month. Every other Friday there is a new prompt, and on the Fridays in between, a selection of submissions are posted. We are grateful to everyone who looks, likes, writes, submits, shares, and reads. Together we are creating an amazing body of ekphrastic writing and an amazing body of readers so the writing talents get the audience they should. Thank you. Lorette
At 3:00 a.m., two eyes stare
in my window, floating impossibly high
above the ground. Your own reflection,
I tell myself without believing –
one pupil open wide to gather
the light, the other a pinprick.
Night, the thief of colour, plunders
peace, smothers the calming melody
of birds and white noise of traffic,
signals the mind’s stray mutterings
to move in. Ideas I’ve hidden
even from myself skitter
across the page, trying to escape
surveillance. Tomorrow I’ll discover
a message in a mysterious hand
left on my desk. I jump at a yowl –
a neighbour’s cat in the alley –
but the eyes peering in never blink.
Alarie’s latest poetry book, Waking on the Moon, contains many poems first published by The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
We two women,
so like our friend Bastet
revered by ancient Egyptians
beloved by us.
She comes to us across
time, across the boards
pointing us to the blue
So, we will discern
open our eyes to your thoughts--
come to us,
receive our homage
such is way of wise
women and wise cats.
Joan Leotta loves to play with words on page and on stage. Her work includes poems just up or forthcoming on Writing in a Woman's Voice, Visual Verse and others. She loves to walk the beach, read, and cook for family and friends.
Two Women With Cat
My sister reminds me about the cat
that we took to the New Jersey suburb
of Philadelphia, who didn’t want to live there
and traveled 75 miles back to the house on the bay.
We found her in the spring when we returned
to open up the house, turn on the water drained.
She had lived the winter in the cellar.
After months in the suburb, I agreed with her choice.
She had tangled with another animal, survived.
Her throat was torn and she could hardly speak.
What I imagine a woman in a burqa feels,
what an artist senses trying to paint women sheltered
when we would prefer chance to security,
prefer a life lived to safety, prefer to be a black cat
scorned and left behind to fend on its own,
prefer the sliver of a crescent moon to a full at epigee.
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press), and Wildwood (Lummox Press). Ride the Pink Horse is forthcoming from Spartan Press in 2019. With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
This frowning front door
foreshadows the fake smiles
hovering behind it.
The monsters within--
but the black cat hesitates.
She would not be back
if not for the regular,
fatty gourmet goulash.
A few undeserved kicks
worth it for a full belly,
a corner to cower in nightly.
In daylight, she scouts
unsupervised, shrieking playgrounds--
an affectionate lure
twining around children's legs
with her hypnotic purr.
Wide-eyes cannot resist
the dusky invitation to follow--
so close to bedtime—down the street.
Arriving at a frowning front door.
Jordan Trethewey is a writer and editor living in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. His work has been featured in many online and print publications, and has been translated in Vietnamese and Farsi. To see more of his work go to: https://jordantretheweywriter.wordpress.com
(and the devil too)
Kerfe Roig likes to play with colour words and form. You can follow along on the blog she does with her friend Nina, https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/
Cauldron of Waves
I am wrapped in darkness and this darkness acts as my double.
No shadows, no incongruent tones - simply a weird remoteness which puffs up around me and makes me doubt myself.
It could have been in Mykonos, before the sunrise, looking out into the sea, into the obscure cauldron of waves.
Was it truly me then - or is this moment a nocturnal layer of my memory?
And yes – the houses were all painted white, here and there a trace of blue.
As the sun went up, I remember the cat gingerly treading on the painted roof.
Romanian-born Irina Moga is a member The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC); she previously published two books in Romanian. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines such as Canadian Literature, carte-blanche, dandelion, Rockhurst Review and The Chaffin Journal.
Darkness, heavy with
with lines by Iraqi-American poet,
The poet wrote, Cinderella left her slipper
in Iraq. I would borrow this line and so many
others, but I have never been in her skin,
never written words punished by exile.
I wasn’t painted by Omar Odeh. The eyes
muddied with sorrow are not mine. They do not
grace my face. I never wore the veil,
lined my eyes in kohl.
I wasn’t the one to lose a country.
My memory cannot smell the river, the lily, the fish.
My mind cannot understand the keyhole, the eyebrow, the cat.
My honesty cannot borrow another poet’s words
to describe my response to this artist’s painting.
And yet, I feel vibrations from his art/
her lines. They swirl inside me, wanting
release, voice. Have I not felt loneliness
like an inverted hollow? Have I not been estranged?
Have I not looked into darkness, heavy with
loss, then chosen to grow on new soil?
Sandi Stromberg is enjoying the ekphrastic challenges presented by The Ekphrastic Review, with poems accepted in response to Joseph Cornell and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art. She also loves gathering poets’ work into anthologies. She co-edited Echoes of the Cordillera (ekphrastic poems, Museum of the Big Bend, 2018) and Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston (Mutabilis Press, 2015). Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, read on PBS during the April 2017 “Voices and Verses,” and published in multiple small journals and anthologies. She has been a juried poet ten times in the Houston Poetry Fest. Her translations of Dutch poetry were published in the United States and Luxembourg.
Kept too long in the closet
With the rags and brooms,
Like punished children
Learning to obey,
We see each other
Know the shape
Of every bruise
And broken promise,
The taste of longing
Swallowed with our bread
The sour air we breathe
Beneath our veils--
We whisper and hiss,
Polishing our smiles
Until they shine
Like hungry moons,
Sharp enough to cut us out
Of these strict margins
And let us walk,
In rags and tatters,
Into the open air.
Mary McCarthy is a former nurse who has always been a writer. She has had work in many on line and print journals, and an electronic chapbook, "Things I Was Told Not to Think About," available as a free download from Praxis Magazine online.
With fated accidental bold abstraction he
caught my soul on canvas, he who never knew me.
I knew him, or knew the painting, never him,
unless his soul was there in paint, a scrap at least,
arms open, catching mine. I'd never seen the work
till then, but recognized myself. A self I'd never seen.
Always I'd assumed one chose and settled in—defined—
inside the confines of a single life when time enough
had passed and all, or almost all, was sorted out.
If any art might echo what I chose, it would be
subtle, gentle, mild. My life was moderate.
But this was daring, brave. Forest green thrust up
a clutch of striking reds and vivid tangerines.
And was there ever such a brightness, cream and
black, to ricochet around a world of paint? Bright
cream, bright black, to pull the willing reds and
tangerines to vibrant circling over steady
forest green. This was, I saw, my soul, or
one of them. An early version, or a late, when
I had been, or was to be, more than I knew.
Shirley Glubka is a retired psychotherapist, the author of four poetry collections, a mixed genre collection, and two novels. Her latest poetry collection is Through the Fracture in the I: Erasure Poetry; her most recent novel: The Bright Logic of Wilma Schuh. Shirley lives in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: http://shirleyglubka.weebly.com/ Online poetry at The Ekphrastic Review here; at 2River View here; at The Ghazal Page here; and at Unlost Journal here and here.
I’m standing in a gallery with my hands in my pockets.
A girl is looking out at me from a painting wondering
(judging by the expression on her face)
whether I am wondering the same thing
that she’s been wondering since Paul Cezanne
painted her in a shady garden wearing her blue dress
and white apron in 1873, which is,
“what is the difference between
impressionism and expressionism?”
But I’m not thinking that at all.
I’m wondering why it feels to me as though
Paul Cezanne had painted me standing in front of her
in my cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirt
with my hands in my pockets in 1973.
David Jibson is the editor of Third Wednesday Magazine, a quarterly print journal of literary and visual art. He is a coordinator for events of the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
And the heat.
Strong black women bearing down
on other people’s clothes –
blue checkered dress
orange striped shirt
-- they (the ironers)
are faceless, identical
in sky-blue smocks
heavy heavy black rectangles
while behind them rises
Catherine Allen is a cultural anthropologist and writer. Her publications include poems (Rhino, Anthropology & Humanism), ethnography, creative non-fiction and an ethnographic drama. She lives in Greenbelt, MD with her dog Jimmy.
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Sherry Barker Abaldo
afrose fatima ahmed
Meghan Rose Allen
Maura Alia Badji
Mary Jo Balistreri
Karin Wraley Barbee
Lois Baer Barr
Janée J. Baugher
B. Elizabeth Beck
Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Marion Starling Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Betsy Holleman Burke
Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Pamela Hobart Carter
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Paul T. Corrigan
Gonzalinho da Costa
Nancy Avery Dafoe
Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Faith M. Deruelle
John Scott Dewey
Marc Alan Di Martino
Catherine Ruffing Drotleff
Kari Ann Ebert
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Jordan E. Franklin
Jen Stewart Fueston
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
Matthew E. Henry
Judith Lee Herbert
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
David M. Katz
Christopher T. Keaveney
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
Fiona Tinwei Lam
John R. Lee
Clarissa Mae de Leon
Sandra J. Lindow
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Diane G. Martin
Mary C. McCarthy
Kevin J. McDaniel
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
Ann E. Michael
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Sharon Fish Mooney
Thomas R. Moore
Diane V. Mulligan
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
Casey Elizabeth Newbegin
James B. Nicola
Ann Floreen Niedringhaus
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Andrew K. Peterson
Laurel S. Peterson
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Molly Nelson Regan
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Jeannie E. Roberts
Ralph La Rosa
George W. Ross
Mary C. Rowin
Iain Lim Jun Rui
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Gregory St. Thomasino
Brian A. Salmons
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Pamela Joyce Shapiro
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
Helen Leslie Sokolsky
John L. Stanizzi
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Memye Curtis Tucker
Janine Pommy Vega
David Joez Villaverde
Loretta Diane Walker
Sue Brannan Walker
Joanna M. Weston
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
Amy Louise Wyatt
William Butler Yeats
Cynthia Robinson Young
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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