Welcome to the third installment of the Ekphrastic Writer’s column. As the author of the first comprehensive guidebook on multi-genre ekphrasis, The Ekphrastic Writer, I’ll be posting monthly musings, fielding your questions on ekphrasis (and beyond), and fostering a conversation on contemporary practices in visual-art-influenced creative writing.
Because I didn’t receive any letters in February, I’ll take this opportunity to share with you a profound lesson that I learned during International Women’s Day. Actually, “day” doesn’t describe it. On Club House (a new, audio-only social media app) I participated in a 72-hour Woman’s Day Summit. We had speakers from around the world share their business acumen and offer feedback on entrepreneurial pitches, for example. But, the most powerful moments were when individuals shared their personal stories with great specificity and heart. Here’s my question to you: When’s the last time you shared something personal through your ekphrastic writing? Let your eyes be that portal to your vision. As Helen Keller said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” In every literary work of fiction and poetry, there’s truth within the space of imagination. However, you cannot hide behind abstraction, this is why ekphrasis is so genius. For, you can find the personal within the specificity of what you see as you look at art. To echo Rainer Maria Rilke’s creative approach, I suggest that you allow yourself to become subordinate to the object d’art and trust that through that space of deep-looking, and with great heart, the stories that you’re meant to tell will erupt. Yes, art contains multitudes, but YOU are also an integral part of that equation.
If you wish to join the conversation, send your letters to E.W. at ekphrasticwriter(at)gmail.com.
Ekphrastically Yours, E.W.
E.W. (Janée J. Baugher) is the author of The Ekphrastic Writer: Creating Art-Influence Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction, as well as the ekphrastic poetry collections, The Body’s Physics and Coördinates of Yes. Recent work has appeared in Saturday Evening Post, Tin House, The Southern Review, The American Journal of Poetry, The Light Ekphrastic, and Nimrod. Her writing has been adapted for the stage and set to music at venues such as University of Cincinnati, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Dance Now! Ensemble in Florida, University of North Carolina-Pembroke, and Otterbein University, and she’s performed at the Library of Congress. Currently, she’s an assistant editor at Boulevard magazine and the 2021 poet-in-residence at Maryhill Museum of Art. www.JaneeBaugher.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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