Your chances of winning the Flash in a Flash contest, here, are pretty good - so far no one has signed up (as of Feb 20).
On the Ides of March, you have 24 hours to write, polish, and submit a flash fiction story. The prompt will be posted at 12.01 on March 15 and your work is due at midnight.
First prize is $100. Entry is $10.
Our challenges and general submissions remain free and are unpaid. Your contest fees help the journal immeasurably and have allowed us to start having occasional cash prizes for writers. Much appreciated, thank you!
Get the details here, and sign up today!
The Wounded Angel, Hugo Simberg, 1903
The kid on the left is me. I’ve just stolen
hubcaps, regret stealing hubcaps, have just
had my own hubcaps stolen, and here I am,
back to work, EMT, how they hire children,
how they fire children, tire children, pyre
children, how the dying angel was working,
blinded by the mines, the front kid mortician
with his black stolen hat, how we slog, how
we keep doing this, the emptiness of this job,
factory-faced, the training, how I did this
for years, ever since then, back then, my
face, then, so handsome and pissed.
Ron Riekki’s books include My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press). Riekki co-edited Undocumented (Michigan State University Press) and The Many Lives of The Evil Dead (McFarland), and edited The Many Lives of It (McFarland), And Here (MSU Press), Here (MSU Press, Independent Publisher Book Award), and The Way North (Wayne State University Press, Michigan Notable Book). Right now, he's listening to Tom Waits' "Hell Broke Loose."
The new prompt is up today. Don't forget that all challenges, contests, and related info are now posted at menu item above, "Ekphrastic Writing Challenges." If you click there you will always find the latest information through posts or links.
Click here for prompt and instructions.
Join us! Flash and microfiction, CNF and poetry all welcome.
There are almost six years worth of writing at The Ekphrastic Review. With daily or more posts of poetry, fiction, and prose for most of that history, we have a wealth of talent to show off. We encourage readers to explore our archives by month and year in the sidebar. Click on a random selection and read through our history.
Our new Throwback Thursday feature will highlight writing from our past, chosen on purpose or chosen randomly. You’ll get the chance to discover past contributors, work you missed, or responses to older ekphrastic challenges.
Hands, by Joan Leotta
Storyteller Joan Leotta also writes poetry and contributes her work regularly. Here she thinks about Rodin's sculpture of hands.
Vincent's Ear, by Heather Browne
Poet Heather Browne shows us how to look at Van Gogh's work anew.
Special Showcase: Ekphrastic Workshops with Bonnie Naradzay and the Ingleside Independent Living Retirement Community
Contributor Bonnie Naradzay began doing workshops at Ingleside when a poet friend of hers turned 98. The participants enjoy ekphrastic writing on occasion and we were very happy to share the results on our pages. One of the poets, Sarah Yerkes, went viral after a Washington Post feature about her publishing her first book at the age of 101.
House Behind the Trees, by Barbara Crooker
We have been fortunate to publish a broad selection of poetry by Barbara Crooker, who has written countless ekphrastic poetry collections. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 55 times!
Victorious Youth: a Sonnet in the Fibonacci Sequence+ by Leanne Ogasawara
An intriguing piece inspired by an ancient sculpture.
Silhouette, by Jennifer Martelli
Poet Jennifer Martelli contemplates the art of Kara Walker.
On the Water, by Ashley Mabbitt
Ashley Mabbitt takes us into a J.M.W. Turner painting.
Ekphrastic Challenge Responses on Toyen
Toyen is a surrealist artist known for darker themes and an examination of gender roles and sexuality.
We featured a curious painting in one of our challenges, and here are the amazing responses.
Recess, by Mary McCarthy
Longtime contributor Mary MCCarthy looks into Miro in the early days of our journal.
Would you like to be a guest editor for a Throwback Thursday? Pick up to 10 favourite or random posts from the archives of The Ekphrastic Review. Use the format you see above: title, name of author, a sentence or two about your choice, and the link. Include a bio and if you wish, a note to readers about the Review, your relationship to the journal, ekphrastic writing in general, or any other relevant subject. Put THROWBACK THURSDAYS in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liquorice Allsorts. Artwork by Patrick Hughes (UK) 1960
If flowers, fruit and jugs of wine,
why not a natures mortes of sweets,
laid out dismembered with eyes staring.
I can still taste them, coconut, vanilla
and more than a hint of exotic darkness.
Sometimes I would peel away the soft icing
with sticky fingers lovingly licked,
though never sure of the pebble dashed
round ones, best rolled between teeth
and a curling of tongue.
On sad troubled days, when parents fought
or pets died, Bertie B. was our childhood
comfort; a sweet reminder that come
what may, there was still a life;
and one of many sorts.
Doug Sandle is a writer, a psychologist and a former university academic. A Manxman, he came to study in Leeds in 1960, founding and editing several arts and poetry publications. His then contribution to Leeds Poetry is acknowledged in the Poetry Archive website of Leeds University’s Poetry Collection. He has been published intermittently over the years, including once sharing a poetry page with Harold Pinter. Recently his poetry has appeared in The New European, The Ekphrastic Review and the anthology The View from Olympia, poems on Olympic sports. He also writes plays and short stories.
The Seductive Loveliness of Perspective
On any screen my attention drifts
whether it's girls online or the official denials
a reporter hunched in a bunker or
reading the accounts—I'm looking
elsewhere: stars and flags draped down empty skies
the blasted building windowed embers
the 8x10s of Sardinia, how book spines make haiku
"the drowned cities embrace fierce December".
Here’s his desert cave, now a sandstone proscenium
he’s upright in that bent-backed chair and bleak
as a Hopper shopgirl, recalling the years of exile,
the poverty and ruin of the world.
And all this bricolage: a teeny stair, a wall unit,
the inlaid floor, vaultage and colonnades
everywhere ellipse and line. Even the crucifix up there
Christ’s arm pulled back 'til the sockets crack.
Now she shifts her shirt, says I’m here now
same table lamp, same decor, a glimpse of rushing leaves.
Beyond an olive grove where two highways meet--
one to the desert, one to the coast
and at the crossroads a boy singing his new-bought voice
the birds circling round, charmed right out of the sky.
Peter Frankis is an Australian writer, living in the industrial town of Port Kembla south of Sydney. Recent poems have appeared Wild (Ginninderra Press) Geelong Writers Centre Anthology 2020 (forthcoming) and online in Plumwood Mountain Journal, Vox Poetica and Vita Brevis.
A man painting the same farm, a single hill
a thousand times and never tiring.
A man wandering through stark hours,
using a brush to bring alive
a profound moment
on a tree --
something as quiet as a bare branch, a split log,
objects honest as lit windows
of moonbeams working
upon the fading patches of snow,
of tilted pails, the barn, its
uneven beams, the wild hillside
and those who endured it,
down to the simplest gestures
of earth, and what the leaves were
So many years, and still
his eyes are in awe
of the rugged truths which pause, open
and spread out for him
by a land that forms stories
from sun and shadow
especially the dark lines
in the grass, the varied tracks
from every vehicle which has driven through
but always moved on. And how
he never moves
on, not that way --
perhaps for him, moving means to remain
in the same place, going deeper.
Therése Halscheid: "My latest collection, Frozen Latitudes (Press 53), received an Eric Hoffer Book Award. Other collections include Uncommon Geography, Without Home, and a Puddinghouse Press Greatest Hits chapbook award. My poetry and lyric essays have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Natural Bridge, Sou’wester, among others. I hold an MA and MFA, and have taught in varied settings, including an Eskimo tribe in northern Alaska, and the Ural Mountains of Russia. For the past two decades, I have chosen to live simply by house-sitting, as to write in unique environments. My photography chronicles my journey, and has been in juried exhibitions. Website: ThereseHalscheid.com."
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
(after William Carlos Williams)
Most days I would tell you I feel like the peasant
scratching his ass at the bottom of Bruegel’s painting,
perhaps thinking of the apple in his pocket.
But once I felt as Bruegel must have--
that attention must be paid.
It was the day in March my first parent died,
the day my father died.
Rushing across the street to the assisted living,
cell phone in hand, spreading my news,
unreality increasing with each retelling,
an ordinary, faceless day turned singular.
Unconcerned, the children and nannies in the park
played around the fountain, workers from nearby offices
carelessly tossed away their sandwich wrappings.
Daffodils elbowed their way hopefully through the thawing earth.
Eileen Ivey Sirota
Eileen Ivey Sirota is the author of one chapbook, Out of Order, published in 2020 by Finishing Line Press. She is a psychotherapist, potter and poet who has come late—but enthusiastically—to the party which is poetry. She lives in Bethesda, MD where she has been hiding out from Covid, tolerating Zoom and similar technologies, and writing.
Beware the Ides of March....
On March 15, 2021, The Ekphrastic Review will hold a very special flash fiction challenge. Can you write the winning story in 24 hours?
$100 CAD and publication for first place.
$10 entry fee.
Selected entries will also be published in a special showcase.
1. On the Ides of March (March 15, 2021) at 12.01 A.M. EST, a prompt will be posted. It will be ekphrastic, involving art, with open ended instructions and imagery. In other words, it will not be a single artwork prompt but something of a scavenger hunt by theme, with you ultimately choosing a work that speaks to you. Some works on the theme will be suggested as possibilities as well.
2. 1000 words max. Firm. No minimum.
3. Flash fiction only.
4. Due by midnight EST that same day.
5. Winner and selected stories to publish will be announced and posted on March 30, 2021.
6. Winner will be paid by PayPal.
7. One entry only per person.
8. Submit story to email@example.com. FLASH IN A FLASH in subject line.
9. No late entries will be accepted.
Thank you for your participation and support. Entry fees for this and recent contests, and ebook purchases, support this journal, and the time and fees to maintain and promote it. We are very happy to be able to start offering occasional cash prizes to our writers and hope to continue to do so in the future. Much appreciated!
A cartoon in an ageless sense
of leering men, transition dance,
the steer, askance, directed peer,
to look, perchance as being watched -
beware the looker in advance,
allowing space to watch oneself.
All focal points, pretence as art,
pericopae, the scenic stance,
diverse set details gathered in,
survey by eyes, for wandering,
without bright eyed-wide wonderment,
except those opportunities displayed.
Green bending youth, tails lifted up,
without dared backward glance bestowed,
too near behind, legs crowding man,
by name George Legge, as if a joke,
while brush strokes point, sardonic smiles,
imagination, yours, run wild.
Hand-held, the Venus d’Urbino -
with finger-pointing scowl at male,
group closeted, portrayed, betrayed.
Who has the last laugh in that frame -
the canvas best when questions posed,
a hand, stir stare, too prominent?
The writing clearly on the wall,
but nearer figures closely scanned,
crude company, aristocrats,
a cluster clique identikit,
all connoisseurs and diplomats,
those boys dismissed as travelled class.
By rippled muscles, wrestled thoughts,
Uffizi in fictitious form,
Etruscan fables, sable spread,
chimera bronze, mane tale for weave,
painstaking plot, this casting couch
where all on stage seen everyman.
What is it eyeglass magnifies,
but is it I in spotlight here,
a complement, to be installed?
For what is the curator’s rôle -
who is it - is it me in deed -
if eye offends, then cast it out?
When is the nude rude, if at all,
dressed down men undressed, put to scorn,
both risqué and suggestive taunts,
double entendres, our account,
without red shift, another’s blame,
to blush when honesty portrayed?
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over 200 pieces published by on-line poetry sites, including The Ekphrastic Review, printed journals and anthologies. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/
The Ekphrastic Review
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