Van Gogh Eternity’s Gate
Forgetting is not in the poet
the painter, the artist.
We are not psychopaths,
murderers, walking away
with bloody hands
from so many
We are the nerves
of the universe
throbbing with something
real. We are Van Gogh’s
old man in the chair--
elbows on his knees,
hands blinding the present
towards the past.
Joshua Dean, who goes by Dean, is a second-year MFA student attending Georgia College and State University. He has a French background and an indisputable attraction to Romantic literature which has influenced his poems. The South serves as his poetic landscape, as much as he wants it to or not. He has grown to appreciate the South and writes odes to it, despite the racial tensions and poor political policies of that geographical area. Dean's poetry has appeared in the River Heron Review.
How wise are they who say This too shall pass?
Look at the lost wanderer: her naked, hunched,
and pregnant body on a cold tree stump
reveals sorrow can shatter life like glass.
It’s spring, yet winter lingers. The trees still barren,
the fields still covered with frost from long
gray months and still cheerless with no bird’s song
surround her. Shaken, consumed by passion,
her scraggly hair traces her gaunt back’s curve.
Her dangling breasts quiver, and while she weeps
she holds her knees. With her frail arm she keeps
her face hidden from us, but we observe
the tears dripping into weeds and grass,
soon must foresee ... her imminent collapse.
Gregory E. Lucas
Gregory E. Lucas writes fiction and poetry. Some of his poems have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review and in magazines such as The Lyric, Ekphrasis, Blueline, Peeking Cat, and Sincerely. Some of his short stories have appeared in The Horror Zine, Bewildering Stories, Yellow Mama, and Dark Dossier.
Ode to Daughter as Artist
Praise for the spontaneous
paint splatter; for the blank,
wide face of canvas; the thin
stroke of clear; the unannounced
swirl and burst of emergence:
oils and newsprint surging
into bright, wild collage,
hue and creativity tottering
on eternity one-day only. Or not,
the heft of 3-D spinning now
into something unlike
anything like steady
chalk or premeditated
ink. No. Rather
thought and arm high
and the brilliant eye
that arrives there
in an ordinary room,
on an ordinary day: art &
its dizzying versions of birth.
Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series, Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else ; Wives' Tales; Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (2004 Yellowglen Prize; re-release 2018); Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite Press); 4 children’s books; Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and over 550 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com
These ekphrastic poems are selections from the “Second Order” group who observed the Bioart Society-sponsored “Field Notes: Ecology of Senses” in September 2018 in Lapland, above the Arctic Circle.
These works are responses to the contemporary artworks and processes by international artists working at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Finland. Each is paired with the relevant artwork.
More at: https://bioartsociety.fi/projects/field-notes-1/pages/second-order-2
In your outdoor moorish room,
the fabric drapes head to clouds,
the womb of the lingonberry’s bud
is the flower of your belonging
in the fantasy of a tent-living room,
a yurt I once visited that smelled
of goat’s idol form and a ting
of scalp sweat, though I would
have laid down under the pasture
before I told them how
different it smelled from the forest
or even home, so when
you offer mellow delights of new wax
from water, from a blue oyster inlaid box
I pinch just the corner, more to feel
it, than to taste the salt.
Hannah Star Rogers
Hannah Star Rogers’ poems and reviews have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Boston Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Tupelo Quarterly, The Carolina Quarterly, and TSR. She received her MFA at Columbia University, her PhD at Cornell University, and is currently a visiting scholar the the University of Edinburgh. She led the Second Order group at Field Notes’ Ecology of the Senses.
Interfacing AM Frequencies Through the Core of a Willow Stem
to Make a Divining Rod for the Future
With the care required to
Pack and ship lichen beginnings worldwide
The prize the moss from its long term
Abode the only home it has ever known,
Estranged from plants by our insistence
On the move, our nature against theirs
Electro-pulses we knew we knew where
There before the stars could be measured
and using up.
Hannah Star Rogers
Sketches for Field Notes from the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station
1. The magpie: one for sorrow, two for joy. No birds on this hill, but we turn our attention to great fortune besides.
2. We call it the devil’s field. Too many rocks to cross.
3. This next part implies the cold. Your face will not be enough. Sit alone and see if you can feel the direction of the whole wind against the rock.
4. Just before the gulley a pile of tin cans and metal scrap. Remains from the prison camp at the end of the war. The nazis didn’t make it up here until almost the end.
5. We never find the crash site. Instead we circle two wire reindeer pens and cross a dry riverbed. You instruct me in irrigation and salt. We prefer not to know what’s lost.
II. Reindeer Life
1. I cannot bear to see such tight landscape, he tells me, one arm still before the window. There is no room for them to move. No room to wander. Twenty years later we are still on this question of space.
2. My mind is not a reindeer’s mind. But I know that they have a turn in their mind. A turn to spring. The new growth takes them north.
3. They have a taste for lichen. But in the summer they trample this lichen they like and eat other green things and flowers. Whatever flower you choose they eat it. And also the red berries that flood the fell.
4. They follow the winter into the wind. The winds are changing. They have to behave in time. Time on the slope falls differently.
5. Human beings are not such ecological animals. The reindeer has another logic.
1. The dogs sit on the prow. We sit below deck. There won’t be anyone there to check passports. I forgot my money anyway and the clouds carry us over.
2. We look to the water to tell us what we already know. It’s hard to look past the shadow of the mountain.
3. Three countries claim this corner. And here a woman who has swum around all three. I have also studied the names of all the trees and flowers, she tells me bending. And I was glad to do so.
4. Wooden boards keep our feet dry. The suture holds for now.
5. At the top a sleeping hut piled over with rocks. We add one rock more and do not lie down. Rain falls beneath us and we descend.
1. We thought they might give us the mountain to celebrate. But they kept it for themselves. We’re a nation apart.
2. Soil, rice, jam. I eat the soil and pull three rocks from my mouth. They could have been teeth.
3. The ice age recedes. The medusa succumbs to her burns.
4. I do not hear you for the water at your back. Later I will be jealous at the water at your window, the angle of your roof. Your beds in a line.
5. I buried my face in the soil but did not open my eyes. I do not play at death.
V. Bird Thoughts
1. We are the noise. We are looking through the noise. Birds correspond to thoughts.
2. The sun doesn’t leave the shadow. It’s the plants. They know their own mind. The mushroom flowers across the screen.
3. I pull a woman from the water. White like the moon and as distant. She tells me: your future is now. Our future is now. She breaks in two.
4. Sound travels like a nerve on the spine. I collect it here, you say, showing me your copper wires and tree branches. Can you hear it, can you hear anything? A clearing upon the hill. The lightning above the door.
5. Hands flat upon the table. A smokescreen and a skull. The noise comes in waves in light against the sky. Trees lit up like eyes upon the shore unblinking. We turn back toward the sensing dark.
Karen Elizabeth Bishop
Karen Elizabeth Bishop teaches literature for a living. She lives in Sevilla, Spain.
(1) I went to Ecology of Senses? Field_Notes
What was that?
Socratic dialogue – it's not what I want.
Were they artists
No I’m not an artist.
Were they scientists
I was trained as a scientist, but no I am not.
Practitioners Praxisters Prax-schm-ishiners...
I am not being contrary, but no I am not.
Well who are they ... are we then? ...
(2) What do we want. A process?
But no-output expected…. Or wanted?
Would you like to see my no-output?
Is there a no-process and no-dynamic to go with it? How about a presentation?
No it's not a presentation I don’t like that word.
I think we are getting somewhere – perhaps maybe I don’t know perhaps not?
(3) What can I say? What can I contribute? Second Order?
Whose order? Disorder! Self-order-(an/ anodon)nized? We are a slime mould?
But we are doing our own thing.
We are rather loose.
I think it is framed -
I don’t like the term frame.
From the centre in own directions -
No not quite that.
Can you help – no help - too much wisdom from you!
Banned words pungent · droplets · in a landscape- no more facts
In a post-fact, neo-truth fake news world – no clichés allowed
(we all know what you mean)
and that’s bounded, restricted not unbounded restructed
Everyone goes to Berlin so I go to Seoul – a new …
There is nothing new – no, maybe perhaps not
It's not essential, Arduino, Android, PowerBank
Breathe the earth, take your clothes off and rub yourself with something soily
Artistic stereotypes (but we are not artists – no, maybe perhaps not
How do I say, what I do not want to say, what I say AYE SAY!
Marcus Petz studies rural resilience at the Department of Philosophy and Sociology at Jyväskylä University, Finland.
Embedded Second Order
Sanna and Malla embraced in warmth my arrival in an Arctic summer’s wain
As a Humus sapiens, I would delve ʽn’ dive where rangifer and salvelinus dwell
Peili fjord á pied-à- mer sand blackstones, bladderwrack and jellyfish pain
Rain in the face so cold nice for a quick dip sauna etiquette- mixed? up face in soil smell
life and electrics, smokey turvekota, Aurora, Feminist moment – Field Notes with children
waves, ripples, currents moiré patterns in the hydrosphere-cum-atmosphere-soilsphere-me-as-well
slime mould, talking so much talking big words and strange books, growing, divine, thinking silence again
this plant with teeth: an exercise in reverse ekphrasis
this plant with teeth
this plant with teeth
mouth lips heaven-
ward turned like two
new deer in profile
against the treebank
suck young cheeks
toward the sky tendons
tight in advance of
the leap petals back
anther and filament
raised in relief this
morning i overflower
this morning i over-
flower this morning i
leap antlers blooming.
Karen Elizabeth Bishop
Sam Nightingale is a visual artist based in the UK. He uses experimental modes of photographic image production and speculative fieldwork to make sensible the temporalities and spatialities of environments that we are a part of but that also persist beyond the limits of human experience.
Patricio Hidalgo Morán es un artista multidisciplinario que reside y trabaja actualmente en Sevilla, España. Una gran parte de sus numerosos trabajos visuales, escénicos, y fílmicos se dedican al mundo del flamenco y la pintura viva, lo cual se puede ver representado en la página web: www.patriciopinceles.com. Ha colaborado también en varios libros infantiles, producciones audiovisuales que trabajan en el intersticio de la poesía y el arte visual, y dirige la revista Mordisco. Su arte ha sido galardonado y expuesto en galerías de arte y exhibiciones en España, Europa, las Américas y Rusia.
Patricio Hidalgo Morán is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Sevilla, Spain. A great number of his numerous visual, stage, and film productions focus on the world of flamenco and live painting, all of which can be accessed at the gallery housed on his website:
www.patriciopinceles.com. He has also collaborated in the writing and drawing of various children’s books, audiovisual productions that work at the intersection of poetry and visual art, and he directs the magazine Mordisco. His art has been the recipient of numerous awards and exhibited in galleries and expositions in Spain, Europe, the Americas, and Russia.
The Lost and Found Department
There is no Lost and Found department at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station.
I went looking for a lost thermos. I heard someone yell, “I can’t find my other sock!” We all found ourselves searching for belongings in a place that doesn’t have a Lost and Found department.
Here’s a guide to finding things around the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station:
Shruti Sunderraman is a writer and journalist based in Bangalore, India. She is a culture vulture and writes about music, art, gender and environmental science. She finds comfort in mushroom soup and blades of grass. Read her work here and here.
In Thrall of Tininess
Large things never wonder their purpose. They settle as landscape and
await eternity. Their peace is traditional. Their self-assurance, alien.
Tiny things wander.
sometimes, into wonder
most times, into trouble.
Curiosity never killed their cat.
they have exceptionally smart cats.
A Nordic mountain is a lesson in royalty. Buckingham is a toilet on its
landslide. A glacier in the distance laughs unbearably at humanness. Social
cachets tested on ice are but punchlines to the immortal.
a patch of lichen, meanwhile,
It is coy. You never saw it spread
across the riverside. This is
the nature of patience.
Standing on the precipice of largeness, my tiny heart heaves a Tundric sigh.
We are terrified,
we are relieved.
Stepping away from desks lights
and tall paper bills,
we are joyous to be tiny again.
The mountains dismiss me; not unkindly.
Insignificance is beautiful.
Some Places So High
that ships in the sea
are like tiny white water birds
dwarfed by carven cliffs.
I should have liked
to bring you here
to clamber up
through brave patches of mossy grass
creviced in red rock
to watch our great shadows
and to laugh at the ships
dreaming of gold and spices.
I could have talked to you
about what seeing is like, from up here
converting colours into hard gems of words
until all the bloom of this red and blue world
burst in upon the graves behind your eyes –
slate pink horizon
dusted in distant shores and deepening
in the shadowed turquoise of these our waters
rust bright rocks stacked to rival Babel
rising to mighty arches –
I could have taught you the magic of the world
through the kiss of sea breezes
shivering so high above the surf
through the feel of stone
warmed in lingering sunlight
through the sound of baby waves
flirting with slippery crab-infested roots of the cliff
and laughing, as all the world laughs,
at the little white birds on the sea.
Perhaps, if you had come to visit,
if I had found a way
to lead you to the edge and paint the shades
of ocean in your brain –
perhaps you would not have jumped.
Originally from Texas, Shannon Lise spent twelve years in the Middle East and currently lives in Québec. Her first poetry collection is underway and recent work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Sunlight Press, Ink in Thirds, Eunoia Review and Red Eft Review. She also writes epic fantasy realism (Keeper of Nimrah, 2014).
Laura Ann and Her Papaw Brumleve Eat Bean Soup
Brian A. Salmons
Brian A. Salmons lives in Orlando, Florida. His work has appeared in Eyedrum Periodically, NonBinary Review, Poets Reading the News, Poetry WTF?! and PARKXVI, among others. He is the host of @BrianAndTheNight, a poetry podcast on Facebook.
Ekphrastic Writing Challenge
Thank you to everyone who participated in our last writing challenge for Tolima-Region Gold Breastplate, Colombia, which ends today. Accepted responses for the Gold Breastplate challenge will be published on December 7, 2018.
The prompt this time is Rainy Night at Etaples, by William Edouard Scott. Deadline is December 14, 2018. PLEASE NOTE: In order to better organize submissions, we have a new email for challenge submissions:email@example.com
Everyone can participate! Try something new if you've never written from visual art before and discover why there are so many of us devotees. Ekphrastic writing helps artists and lovers of art to look more carefully, from different angles or mindsets, at visual art. And it helps writers discover new ways of approaching their work, their experiences, and writing itself.
The rules are simple.
1. Use this visual art prompt as a springboard for your writing. It can be a poem or short prose (fiction or nonfiction.) You can research the painting or artist and use your discoveries to fuel your writing, or you can let the image alone provoke your imagination.
2. Write as many poems and stories as you like.
3. Have fun.
4. Send only your best results to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Include SCOTT WRITING CHALLENGE in the subject line in all caps please. Please use this email only for challenge submissions. Continue to use the regular email for regular submissions and correspondence.
6. Include your name and a brief bio. If you do not include your bio, it will not be included with your work, if accepted. Even if you have already written for The Ekphrastic Review or submitted other works and your bio is "on file" you must include it in your challenge submission. Do not send it after acceptance or later; it will not be added to your poem. We are sorry about these technicalities, but have found that following up, requesting, adding, and changing later takes too much time and is very confusing.
7. Late submissions will be discarded. Sorry.
8. Deadline is December 14, 2018.
9. Please do not send revisions, corrections, or changes to your poetry or your biography after the fact. If it's not ready yet, hang on to it until it is.
10. Selected submissions will be published together, with the prompt, one week after the deadline.
11. Rinse and repeat with upcoming ekphrastic writing challenges!
Please note, next year we are going to have some special guest editors judging some of the challenges! We're hoping this will inspire in unexpected ways, add new flavours and perspectives to the journal, and foster community. When a challenge has a guest editor, it will be announced in advance as well as in this space the day the prompt is posted. We're excited about this and about having a whole year of challenges, now that we've found an ekphrastic prompt system that is working out in terms of consistency and longevity. Many great poems will be written in the year ahead!
The two of them died in the war, but their bodies
remained, entwined in each other’s limbs
causing them to become a statue of molten skin,
pressed tightly together and clenching open palms
to bare backs, locked in an embrace that can’t
be unbound, one continuous creature
unable to be ripped apart,
each trying to shield the other from the doom
lurking behind eyes closed tightly
because what you can’t see can’t hurt you
and life will be okay, but they perished with their naïve ideal
of hugs curing any harm that comes their way,
their arms scrambling to latch onto any part
they could wrap themselves around, bones protruding
from the translucent surface stretched loosely over
every angle of the two headed being with its four
legs crossed within itself, tightening the core
of the beast, digging claws into the shoulders
of its counterpart, toes thrust into the ground,
their last effort at rooting themselves
before the burst of light from the distance
swept them away in its radiant gaze,
and tears trekked down their faces, trusting the caress
to withstand the tenacious winds lamenting towards them,
this was their last exhale before they were damned to this ground.
Faith M. Deruelle
Faith M. Deruelle lives in Brooklyn with her one cat and one fish. She was born in Florida, and attended Florida State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Creative Writing and Environmental Science. Faith is in a Master of Fine Arts program at The New School in New York.
With Hidden Noise
Two brass plates, engraved on the top and bottom with
English and French words, and in between these, a small ball
of twine that hides a noise inside of it when it is shaken. All of
these joined by four screws. If you are inclined, supply your
own noise because you can’t shake this ball of twine. The
museum won’t allow it. So wear a grimace. Begin to scream.
A scream will do it. Don’t save it for a private performance in
the shower. Scream if you are inclined. Maybe you’ll cause a
fine ruckus and a kind of wonder. The museum will never
forgive you, but your audience might think you’re part of the
display; an art object. You scream. It just won’t work. No
matter how much you scream. You can’t shake them up. You
shut up and attempt to stuff your scream into that small ball of
twine, with a noise already hidden inside of it, which is
sandwiched between two brass plates joined by four screws.
You can’t get near it. It’s impossible. Is it true that a scream is
still a scream even if you can’t hear it? Things get balled up.
Things get hidden. Things forget to make a noise, or a noise is
ignored. Supply your own noise, or keep it hidden. No one
Jenene Ravesloot has written five books of poetry. She has published in After Hours Press, Sad Girl Review, DuPage Valley Review, the Caravel Literary Arts Journal, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Packingtown Review, The Miscreant, Exact Change Only, THIS Literary Magazine, and other online journals, print journals, chapbooks, and anthologies. Jenene is a member of The Poets’ Club of Chicago, the Illinois State Poetry Society, and Poets & Patrons. She has received two Pushcart Prize nominations in 2018.
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
I am the one in the lowest boat
my head flung back
my face the colour of rice
the colour of the distant moon
as the great wave too flings back crests
up over curving curling caving in
while I am only a white foam-speck
my face a pale flint-fleck
my blue fishing jacket
a drop of indigo water
at the foot of the glowering towering tide
our painted prow rises skywards
on the wave but we are overswept
the mountain shakes
even the very sea-bed quakes
heaves up the tsunami
soaring over me
by beauty are we so engulfed
in the unstoppable rising roaring wave
more mountainous than Fuji
that we are done for
small consolation to be dying a beauteous death
forever poised below the wave
immortalized by Hokusai’s deep dangerous ink
A published novelist between 1984 and 1996 in North America, the UK, Netherlands and Sweden (pen-name Elizabeth Gibson), Lizzie Ballagher now writes poetry rather than fiction. Her work was featured at the 2017 Houston, TX, Poetry Festival and also appears intermittently in South-East Walker Magazine and Poetry Space. Having spent all her life in editorial and teaching work, she is a long-time member of the UK Society of Authors. She lives in southern England, writing a blog at https://lizzieballagherpoetry.wordpress.com/. Her poetry has appeared in magazines in England, Ireland and the US. Two of her poems have recently been nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize.
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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
Tricia Marcella Cimera
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Gonzalinho da Costa
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
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Diane G. Martin
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
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
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
Brian A. Salmons
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Pamela Joyce Shapiro
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
Helen Leslie Sokolsky
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
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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