Special Showcase: Introduction to Creative Writing- Maryland high school students write ekphrastic poetry
Today we have something a little different to present!
Students in an Introduction to Creative Writing class at C. Milton Wright High School in Maryland recently tried their hand at ekphrastic writing.
Teacher Sarah Malesh asked her students to "take inspiration from a painting or photograph," and to examine that visual work with attention to what could be seen, as well as what could be imagined.
It was also a lesson in publishing, with students learning about how to prepare submissions for a journal, and writing letters of introduction to the editor.
The Ekphrastic Review is delighted to be part of this unique and inspiring teaching model, and has decided to feature all of the received submissions in a special showcase.
We are presenting the poems to you unedited save for typos and obvious grammatical or spelling errors, and sharing the letters of introduction/bios as well.
Please note: The Ekphrastic Review always pairs ekphrastic writing with its visual inspiration, but in this case obtaining permission for each image proved difficult and time consuming. In some cases, students didn't submit a title or artist name! So that no one was left out and we could still proceed with this showcase, alternate images are used with a note and a link to the original source when possible. If permissions come in along the way for the original image prompts, the alternates will be replaced.
All students have parental permission to have their work published online.
-The Ekphrastic Review
10,243 Kilometers away from her love
Walks a narrow path, in her parents words
her umbrella is her only shield
because he himself can’t be around
she stands strong
Continues on her path
Trusts the process
places her future on God’s hands
Wishes that in the end she’s with him
Note: Hi! The name is Jasurbek Rakhimjonov, I go by the name Jazz. I'm a senior in high school, C. Milton Wright high school. I'm originally from Uzbekistan. This is my poem. Enjoy and hope I can publish it.
Image: The original prompt for this ekphrastic poem was Rain Princess by Leonid Afremov (Israel, b. Belarus, contemporary.) Click here to view.
I stood from Dominguez Hills looking towards the LA skyline
One year is how far I’d be away from the city
Looking at it for the last time it stuck out to me
I started to see stuff I never saw before
The range of colour
The range of brightness and darkness
The sophisticated building for miles and miles
The stars lighting up the sky
This night more than ever it seemed as though the moon was larger
Almost as if LA was trying to give me an image to remember
There was difference with unity
Darkness with Brightness
And even though there was so much to take in
There was a simplicity of it all
Note: Hello, I'm Eugene Pettiford. I'm a high school student studying Ekphrastic poetry and how to publish such poems. Here is a poem for your consideration. Bio possibility: Eugene Pettiford is a high school student who plans to study engineering next year at Cal State Fullerton.
Image: The original prompt for this poem was L.A. Skyline by Anthony Caruso (USA). Contemporary. Click here to see image.
The road I strolled was gray
A tiny, drab town with familiar faces
Someway she painted the city
Everywhere she walked
With colours and shapes
That at one point looked so regular
Now look so captivating
The road I used to walk alone
Was gloomy, gray, dreary, and lifeless
Until she warmed the once long, grim road
And made it seem as if we were rambling on a canvas
Note: Dear Lorette, We have not corresponded before, my name is Madison, I'm from Bel Air, Maryland. I have three horses and a dog and enjoy writing very much. Here is a poem for your consideration.
Image: The original prompt for this poem is Fog in the Park 3 by Leonid Afremov (Israel, b. Belarus, contemporary.) Click here to view.
The years I’ve seen never seize to amaze me
Every cub, every fawn, pup, and child
When the lands awaken, birds resurrect the lost and forgotten
When the grass breaks under pressure and the ponds give off steam
When the skyscraper sides crawl with life
The generations visit me
The withered bring the rejuvenated
The settled bring the dying
The grieving bring flowers
The devastated bring tears
Strong standing, gazing at the accomplished
Knowing it’s time to go
To plant anew
A life is brought, an end nears
Respect can be sensed in the silence
The dew grazed air
The light watching through closed doors
The thanks for protection
A memory will be imprinted
A feeling will be left
A smile forever shining in the red flower’s glow
Generations will follow
Stories will be told
Reality and fantasy
Of the Weeping Willow
And the Mountain Path in Spring
Note: Dear Lorette, My name is Piper Grada and I am a Sophomore at C. Milton Wright High school in Bel Air, Maryland. I have written an ekphrasis poem that I would love to submit to your publication website. Thank you so much for taking to time to consider me!
The yearly travelling carnival
The carousel spinning around
Encased in wind like a tornado
The night is moonless
Painted in cobalt
The crowd is vast
The sickly-sweet cotton candy
The smell of funnel cake
Children dash past me
Towards the Ferris wheel
The Ferris wheel
The top cannot be seen
The best day of the year
And yet it all ends in 10 minutes...
Note: Dear Ekphrasis Review, Hello, my name is Mackenzie Arvey. I am a sophomore in high school and I have loved writing since elementary school. I have always love reading books since an early age. I actually started writing in middle school, when I joined creative writing club. It gave me a chance to publish my work and for my school to read it. I have carried on that love for writing into high school, where I am in journalism and creative writing. I hope you will consider my Poem ‘Travelling Carnival’ which is inspired by the painting Travelling Carnival, Santa Fe, by John Sloan.
She noticed me
Every single one of my
She recognized I was in pain
And healed me.
She healed me because
She was hurt too
And then one day she was gone.
Note: Dear Lorette, Najji is a senior in high school who dabbles in writing poetry from time to time. Though he may not be the greatest he tries his best especially since he is in a literary arts path way.
I am rested gently on my owner’s lap on a cold winter’s night
Vibrations are sent through me from my strings, my owner shaking from the cold
My owner is poor, he is a street performer, with no true home which is his plight
As he sits here hunched over me, his hands on me, such a light and gentle hold
People pass by, some drop their money in his can, as the sky begins to snow white
My owner can’t bring himself to smile at those who give, he is too weak and old
I too feel old, feel worn out, but no one would know. I don’t have a voice
The only voice I have is the vibrations that emit from my core
My owner controls my voice, What I say is not my choice
The song he plays is light, almost sad, some stop to adore
Those who come are more privileged, happier, filled with joy
We have never felt this privilege, we have lived in strife
When I was first found, when my owner was a boy
Poor street performers, all our life.
Note: Dear Ekphrastic Review, Hello, my name is Katie Monaghan. I’m currently in high school and writing is one of my strong passions, I was never interested in it till this year when I realized I was a bit talented and it was something I enjoyed. I also enjoy art, especially water colour paintings and drawings. I’d like you to consider my poem, "Street Performers”, it is inspired by a painting called The Old Guitarist by the very famous Pablo Picasso. It would be an honour to have this work published, it would show me I actually have some potential in the writing field. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Dans La Prairie
An endless sea of flowers
Patches of violet, yellow, and lacy white specks
Sway in the cool afternoon breeze
I set down my parasol
Right where I was yesterday
And each day before
clutching the day’s read.
My white dress is enveloped by colour
Leaving only my bonnet to float above the surface of green
Like a large white waterlily
I turn to page 142
Where the darkness of yesterday evening
Commanded I stop
Soon I am no longer in this prairie
There are no blossoms, no birdsong, no bloom-scented breeze
But ocean spray and miles of deep blue
I am no longer a French girl of nineteen
But a sailor with a thirst for adventure,
A crew of one hundred,
And a creaky wooden deck below my feet
I can traverse the world, go where I choose
The only thing stopping me
Is the setting sun
Soon I must abandon ship.
Gradually my pages have dimmed to navy blue
And squinting ceases to reveal more words,
I’m again in the prairie
I lift my parasol
From where I will return to tomorrow,
Where I will return to sea.
Note: Hello Lorette, This is my Ekphrasis Poetry Submission! Bio: Christina Capozzoli, age 17, is a current senior at C Milton Wright High School in Bel Air, Maryland. She enjoys many forms of creative expression, including drawing, crafting, music, and writing. Passionate about saving the environment, Christina hopes to apply her skills to one day make a difference.
She is aspiring in the world
And while she is aspiring I will be there.
I will be there supporting her
And making sure her beauty does not get tainted.
I will be there making sure that she does not get corrupted
By the awful people in the world.
Her beauty will rule the world while not being tainted
And I will be there supporting her.
Note: Dear Lorette, Madison is a senior in high school at C. Milton Wright High School in Maryland.
Madison is 17 years old and is trying to get her work done. Madison is just trying to get her stuff out in the world.
Image: The original image that prompted this poem is by Anna Gogoleva. Click here to view.
Beauty and the Bulk
The hair, the makeup, the dress
All pretty and perfect
The musky stench of damp hay hanging in the air
With the slightest hint of sweet perfume
The elephants won't quit stamping their feet and happily making their trumpet-like noises
Posing, changing, rearranging
"Touch up the makeup and smooth the crease in Dovima's dress!"
Perfect, the perfect shot
"Wonderful job my elephant whisperer."
Note: Dear Lorette, I am so excited to be working with you on publishing my first Ekphrastic poem! I'm also looking forward to submitting more pieces in the future. Right now in my creative writing class, we are in our poetry unit, and learning about ekphrastic poetry. McKenna Renoult is a high school sophomore living in Bel Air, Maryland with her three sisters, parents, and adorable chorkie named Bowtie.
Am I Pretty Now?
Mommy is unaware of what her little girl is up to.
The little girl who isn’t playing with her doll.
The girl, she’s in her mommy’s bedroom.
Pulling her stool up to the large mirror.
Opening up the magazine. She snagged from her big sisters room.
She opens it to the page with the beautiful women.
She compares her own face to the face on paper.
The little girl does not believe she is pretty.
Her petite face clouded with insecurities.
Grabbing her mommy’s brush and lip gloss.
She applies to her face.
It had been days before
When she watched her sister do the same thing
Just before she had gone out with a boy
“Why do you put that on your face?” the little girl asked,
“It makes me pretty”
Now the girl looks at herself in the mirror.
Now she thinks she is pretty.
Note: Christine Wolf is a high school sophomore in Maryland. Who likes to write in her free time. This is her first poem she has submitted.
There I sat, drifting away,
But the memories were bright and clear,
Flashing back to me,
Like the rays of the setting
Fiery sun across the water.
There I sat, drifting away,
Still staring at the horizon,
Longing, reaching out for
Those moments to come back to me.
There I sat, hopelessly drifting away,
Aching for you to stay.
Note: Dear Lorraine, Kendall is lacklustre high school student with a passion for writing poetry and short stories. Her inspiration stems from her emotions and past experiences. Her writing has a touch of realism and brings much more life to the piece for the reader.
Image: The original photograph that prompted this poem could not be sourced.
How long has it been?
1200 years as a lump of steel
Three weeks since I have tread this world
Three weeks since I have felt the ceaseless rhythm of life
Three days since I have been challenged to lead
One day since I have failed
What did I do wrong?
How could I have saved them?
My duty has changed yet remained the same
No longer must I stand and watch
For now I can take action
To protect them with these hands
Join this wild dance!
To guard their histories.
To protect their futures.
Note: Heather is a high-school student with strong interests in art, creative writing, and Japanese. She loves Japanese history and much of her work is in some way inspired by this. Past high-school her goal is to become a manga artist.
Image: The image that inspired this poem is by Ronaldo Ichi & Valesca Bragga and could not be sourced for this showcase.
The fields I once leaped across,
Were now infected with coding
The mountains I’ve worked years to climb,
Are nothing but ones and zeroes
The dirt I once got on my clothes,
Were polluted with electricity
The bright blue skies which held the stars,
Were swallowed by downloaded fog
What to take from this modified world?
Is this truly the future?
What can I see, how do I react?
Is this freedom?
Or just a bigger trap?
The road less traveled by,
Isn’t always the brightest one
Humanity chose a road of technology,
And there left our god, our sun
Nobody can hear you screaming,
In a world that’s lacking life
A place so deserted,
Even your echoes abandon you
No matter how fresh or rotten the air,
I wasn’t familiar with it
The truth is my cure, in here I’m sick,
Perhaps this is what it means to truly panic
Image: Click here to see the image that originally inspired this poem.
An Autumn Walk
All wrapped up in our cozy sweaters
We prepare ourselves for the fall time weather.
The crisp orange and red leaves fell from the trees
We walked slowly, enjoying the morning breeze.
The leaves were wet from rain drops
Falling onto the ground, "Plop!"
The ground was wet and mushy due to rain from the night before
But we walked in our tall boots, in which we wore.
The smell of the dewy leaves which have fallen from the beautiful trees
Reflect on fall.
This is our autumn walk.
Note: Dear Lorette, My name is Abby Cundiff. I am a senior in high school and this is my first time contacting you and ever writing an ekphrasis poem. Below is a copy of my poem. Bio: Abby Cundiff is a first time writer who is a senior in high school.
Image: The original image that inspired this ekphrasis is Romantic Moment by Leonid Afremov. Click here to view.
We live behind the large plateau
It's the only place we know
We've never been away from here
The rivers, lakes, and the deer
The sky sets in a beautiful way
But I realize that I can no longer stay
Australia will forever be a part of me
But it's just not meant to be.
Note: Dear Lorette, My name is Emily DeNardi and I am a senior in high school. This is my firm time contacting you to publish my work. Here is one poem for your consideration. Bio: Emily DeNardi, a writer and senior in high school.
A ghoulish fog,
It lingers in my breath.
I want to be myself.
But a coexistence of stillness
Hides within the trees.
I will not allow myself to be
Someone I am not.
An eerie mist sits
About my feet.
I rather not to be fake as the rest.
A silence waves around in the
Everything feels to be in slow motion.
I am not alone in this dense world.
The fog shifts in an unsettling motion.
I’ll keep evolving, into something bigger.
Even if it means leaving you behind.
Note: Dear Lorette, My name is Rozlyn Lovelace, I am 16 and go to C. Milton Wright in Maryland, USA. I am a lover of writing, photography and music. I am a shy and to myself kind of person. I only have my one poem as of now and I do hope you like it.
Image: The original photograph that prompted this ekphrasis is by Gabby Minkiewicz. Click here to see it.
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Sherry Barker Abaldo
Meghan Rose Allen
Mary Jo Balistreri
Karin Wraley Barbee
Janée J. Baugher
B. Elizabeth Beck
Karen G. Berry
Susan P. Blevins
Rose Mary Boehm
Charles M. Boyer
Marion Starling Boyer
Catherine A. Brereton
Charles W. Brice
David C. Brydges
Mary Lou Buschi
Danielle Nicole Byington
Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Fern G. Z. Carr
Tricia Marcella Cimera
SuzAnne C. Cole
Gonzalinho da Costa
Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
John Scott Dewey
Marc Alan Di Martino
Catherine Ruffing Drotleff
Suzanne E. Edison
Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Tara A. Elliott
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
Adam J. Gellings
Grace Marie Grafton
Emily Reid Green
Rebeca Ladrón de Guevara
Laura Quinn Guidry
Andrea L. Hackbarth
Judith Lee Herbert
A. J. Huffman
Pat Snyder Hurley
Arya F. Jenkins
Brandon D. Johnson
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
Christopher T. Keaveney
Olivia J. Kiers
Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
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
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Thomas R. Moore
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Andrew K. Peterson
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Stebbins Taitt
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Sue Brannan Walker
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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