She couldn’t stop thinking that he had been nothing more than a premonition. She never wanted to see him again, but there he was, as she stood there listening to the dog. The dog’s deep guttural howls were strange, it was as if the dog believed the artist was returning, and it reminded her of the time when he came over to help train the puppy and instead, made the animal howl with pain. His love had once felt possible to her, but she couldn’t touch it, even when he was feeling kind, even when he stood there in her living room disappearing. She noticed that when she felt his presence the most, she could also feel the shadow of the hurt dog. The dog would wander close in, and then yelp, and finally stare at her from a safe distance, as if she was the man who hurt animals. She didn’t want to remember him like this. She tried not to think about the purple parts of the evening, alone with the ruined dog, it was this colour from which a bruise become a whole life from which she could only stand there howling.
Meg Pokrass is the author of eight flash fiction collections, an award-winning collection of prose poetry, two novellas-in-flash, an award winning collection of prose poetry, and a 2020 collection of microfiction, "Spinning to Mars" which won the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Washington Square Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Split Lip and McSweeney's has been anthologized in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015) and The Best Small Fictions 2018 and 2019. She serves as Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction 2020 and Festival Curator of Flash Fiction Festival U.K. and teaches flash fiction online and in person. Find out more at megpokrass.com.
This story sparked for Meg in our recent Ghost Stories workshop. Join us for an online writing session! Our two-hour ekphrastic workshops are inspiring, supportive, affordable, and generative. Learn more about art and write something new! Click here for upcoming workshops.
After Matisse’s Back Series
Yesterday, I hiked a narrow
hidden path to the frozen
waters of Lake Helen. Still,
they were fluid, distant. I grazed
my body along her curve and this
must have been the way you were blinded.
Scooping earth from the waysides
of her belly, cupping it in the crescents
of your palms, nearing so close
to your lips as to melt it with
your breath. This way, you could lean
yourself into the valley of her back, slide
over the rise of her thighs
and whisper the strokes of perfection
like a tourist, with hiking poles and an
oversized backpack, stunned
by the foreignness, the relevance
Too stunned, almost, to unload
your pack and stay
the night in its curvature, its mystified
bend. The morning appears and the lines
that the evening weight contours
seem more jagged at this hour. Like this,
the trees themselves grow thick: A neck
speared through the blades of an open back,
its leaves, folding, more than blowing, into
themselves, out of themselves.
I do not blame you for the blindness. It is
hard to tell beauty from the backside
of a stone, a lake, a day. I envy
your strength, uprooting
the tree like that, carrying the trunk
down through the leaning path, away
from the frozen body and evening
and dawn. The way you must
have lifted it above your head,
thrust it with such a force
as to rip apart the firm of her back
and leave it there.
Though by now you must be
an exhausted traveler, having already
woken in the break
of the day to watch the ways in which
sunlight traces and pools, you
are comforted in the subtleties of stillness.
She has become two pillars and you,
an artist, unforming.
Yael Herzog: "I have received my MFA from Bar Ilan University, and received the Andrea Moriah Poetry Prize in May, 2017. My work has previously been published in Eclectica Magazine and Aurora Poetry, and was nominated for the Sundress Publications 2019 Best of the Net Anthology. I grew up in New Jersey and now live in Tel Aviv, Israel, where I teach English to middle school and high school students.
You'll never run out ideas for writing ekphrastic poetry with our ebook of thirty-one creative exercises. It's a month of ideas, or you can dip into a random selection whenever the urge for poetry strikes.
31: A Month of Ekphrastic Poetry Exercises ebook
31 ekphrastic poetry exercises to take you through a month. These are not painting prompts but inspirational exercises and projects using different resources and ideas.
Ensnared in long tentacles of hair, skeletal, toothless, chiseled in marble, I sit here, made of rock, spinning undyed flax, the colour of straw. Daughter of Erebus and Nyx.
Slipping notes. Packing and repacking. Sunshine, not of landscape, but of tiny boxes. Conspiring with Thanatos. Lavender pink cells. Tumours making themselves immortal. Take root. Form spores.
Dialogue with mulberry trees. Shrill flute music. Doorways and long stone staircases.
Orangery in a walled garden. All the unvarnished farm tables. All the reed rush chairs. Dragonfly stained glass. Summers are skin. It has a scent.
wet on wet washes
come, see the white roses
and the moon
This poem is from the author's forthcoming book The Tempest (Inanna Publications, 2022).
Ilona Martonfi is an editor, poet, curator, advocate and activist. Author of four poetry books, the most recent collection is Salt Bride (Inanna, 2019). Forthcoming, The Tempest (Inanna, 2022). Writes in journals, anthologies, and seven chapbooks. Her poem “Dachau on a Rainy Day” was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. Artistic director of Visual Arts Centre Reading Series and Argo Bookshop Reading Series. QWF 2010 Community Award.
The new ekphrastic writing prompt is Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Han van Meegeren. Click on the image above for details.
We look forward to reading your responses!
Greener pastures I have never seen, nor such straight canals, much as rivers meandering, where surfaces ascend symmetrically in the greyer heavens up. All breathe below sea level but don't drown, won't brood, for here, here live the dunes, the dikes, their waterworks. Three seasons full of North-blue rain fall on trees, on plots, tomatoes, red and black-n-white cows.
I used to not really think to stop and look, to admire works or flowers, my street with towers. I used to not even consider the fruits of the holy fields flooded, the cows full of heifer love, just cattle loyal, chewing-milking-meating us. Back now I bathe in the blinking lights, the waters in the sky, there are waves under bridges and I waken that I left for space to think, for silence to read like a writer. I left for spaces like lakes and oceans, still with a secret need of cities or crops. I saw a desert with volcanoes, where pride awkwardly surrounded my ears. The weeks turned to more weeks, as piles of paper to those I used to climb at home. Time and words noiselessly melted, the house such ghost of turbulence. I am losing face and details fade, much as memories stay. Mine, not yours.
And so I decided it was time, forward thinking, for where there are neither dunes, dikes nor the racing clouds like ours, there is where a desert sees the sea so unlike me. I asked my best friend to tape the greener grass, the vapour sky, some underground clangour to have the fields in hand, as I erased the pictures of the cotton candy clouds, the dust from my skirts. Your number too. About time.
Kate Copeland started absorbing stories ever since a little lass. Her love for words led her to teaching and translating some sweet languages, her love for art, lyrics and water led her to poetry ...with some publications sealed already! She was born in Rotterdam some 51 ages ago and adores housesitting in the UK, America and Spain.
A Two-Part Ekphrastic Workshop: Discovering Canada’s Art
When the American comedian Steve Martin curated a touring exhibition of Canadian painter Lawren Harris, it was the first time many outside experienced artwork from Canada. Yet we have untold riches in our art story! This generative writing workshop is an opportunity for writers to get acquainted with Canada’s remarkable, diverse visual culture.
There will be an overview or “highlight reel” of important moments coast to coast from the beginning until today. Then we will take a deeper dive into five works selected to inspire your writing, learning about the artwork and artist and working from inspiring exercises.
Canadian art history has it all: kooky, quirky, flamboyant artists who did things their own way; abstract art movements; a range of different indigenous art cultures; scandalous muses and collectors; records of oppression and triumph over adversity; pioneering perspectives; multicultural art histories; and mysterious moments that keep hold on the national psyche. Come and discover a world of art that can forever inspire your ekphrastic practice.
Our experience this far doing these workshops is that the previous two-hour time frames seems too short. We are extending the workshop sessions to 2.5 hours as we tend to go overtime anyhow! This will allow an unrushed session with plenty of time for discussion, sharing and a short stretching break roughly halfway. We will try this out and see if it works better- we have consistently and pretty much unanimously found the two hours of our first workshops was too short! We try to be interactive, supportive, and flexible so that everyone feels comfortable.
Saturday, November 13, 2021
6 to 8 pm EST
Saturday, November 20, 2021
6 to 8 pm EST
$50CAD for both
Glimpses into an Abyss
Pausing outside a Montmartre cinema in 1946,
Giacometti glimpses a woman with an astonishing shape.
Inside the Brasserie Lipp, the head waiter’s physique
looks like the woman’s. So do all the patrons:
figures knife-edged to the point of disappearing,
pared to the heft of a shadow.
If Giacometti moves his head slightly,
what he sees becomes more ghastly.
In his cramped studio on the Rue Hippolyte,
the starting points are members of his family:
his wife, his brother, his models.
All excess siphoned away.
According to Sartre, the figures straddle
“nothingness and being,” caught in transition.
Giacometti starts with plaster of paris,
which crumbles easily.
Like him, always on the edge
Poems by Mike Ross have appeared in Speckled Trout Review, Great Smokies Review, The Ekphrastic Review. His book of poems, Small Engine Repair appeared in 2015. He teaches poetry writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the University of North Carolina. His second book, Ports of Call, will be published in 2022.
What Survives Them
The child who died lives on, preserved
in pigments by her father. Remembered. Re-
embodied. The child and her lamb, the rattan stroller
nestling her doll. One hundred and thirty years later I gaze
at her red-ribboned hat orphaned on the grass, transmuted into
pixels, into light made visible as colour. And back to the lamb, pale
hand at its collar, striped frock, pale face—an image of an image
of a child no longer breathing, her parents seated nearby, stiff
in mourning clothes, their love no proof against a burst
appendix, her name a whisper in the lilac shade. Effie.
My great-grandmother left no painting
of her youngest. Oma kept Ewald Morgenroth’s room
instead, ashtray and pipe on a shelf set into the headboard,
uniforms hanging in the closet. Pressed. Waiting. I stood inside
this still life once, dust and silence coating every surface, Oma
gone to her grave, the old house leaning in on itself. A trunk
biding in the attic, her husband’s wedding shirt folded there.
A Valentine card signed to my grandfather when he was a boy.
Julius Arthur Bruns is on my mind
this afternoon, my grandmother’s beloved
brother. He peers from the one surviving photo,
a round-faced little boy, youngest of five, flanked
by Willie and Anton, clearly brothers—dark eyes, dark hair,
dark suits, silky bows tied loosely at the collar. Beside them,
stair-stepped all in white, Lillie and Adele, sombre as their brothers.
Johann Wilhelm Bruns was not yet fifty when he stood here with them--
curly hair, thick moustache, no hint of gray. He’d buried a wife
in Niedersachsen, crossed the Atlantic with daughters Anna,
Frieda, Helene. Married again, fathered the five gathered
here. Buried their mother. Assembled them today,
a father mourning inevitable loss: little Julius,
hands loosely fisted, holding on, his faulty
appendix keeping its secret. For now.
Like Effie, Julius does not smile.
Like his mother, he has no claim on lasting.
A Pushcart honoree, with a personal essay in Pushcart Prize XLII, David Meischen is the author of Anyone’s Son, winner of the John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL). David has twice received the Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story from TIL, most recently for “Crossing at the Light,” lead story in The Distance Between Here and Elsewhere: Three Stories (Storylandia, Summer 2020). His work has appeared in The Common, Copper Nickel, The Evansville Review, Salamander, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Valparaiso Fiction Review, and elsewhere. A former juror for the Kimmel Harding Nelson center for the arts, David completed a 2018 writing residency at Jentel Arts. Co-founder and Managing Editor of Dos Gatos Press, he lives in Albuquerque, NM with his husband—also his co-publisher and co-editor—Scott Wiggerman.
Whose Japanese vase? Whose corner table?
Hexagonal in olive green and decorated
with twisted stems and blossom, as pale
as the faded palette of the roses it contains --
the last he painted before that final tumult
of wheat and crows.
Was this bunch in Gachet’s house with dark antiques,
Pissarro’s paintings and the nervous atmosphere
where he dined each week?
Did Marguerite arrange them — yellow
pink and blue — in the music room
before she played on the piano?
A small picture, no clue in any
letter, at a time when he completed
a new canvas every day.
His brother gave it to Gachet’s son for sitting
with Vincent the night after he shot himself
until he, Theo, came on the next-day train.
Whose is the room and who’s is the bowl?
Questions hover in the air of the Musée d'Orsay.
Why another fallen rose?
This poem was first published in The London Grip, June 2021
Denise Bundred: "I was a consultant paediatric cardiologist and has an MA in Writing. I’m a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. My pamphlet, Litany of a Cardiologist, was published in 2020. I won the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine 2016, coming second in 2019. My poems have appeared Hippocrates Prize Winner Anthologies and the NHS Anthology These are the Hands. I have poems in a number of British poetry magazines and online publications including Envoi, Under the Radar, The Poetry Shed, Prole Poetry and Prose, London Grip and Magma."
The Ekphrastic Review
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