THROWBACK THURSDAYS: Selections by Alarie Tennille
I chose to revisit past Februarys for inspiration. This shortest of months can seem like the longest, but we can have spring, summer, or the tropics anytime in the ekphrastic world, so I decided to look at what inspired other writers in gray winter.
My Life with Matisse, by Sheila Wellehan
I love the frolicking, galloping pace of this poem and how Wellehan makes readers think of her as the woman in the portrait. She uses one poem to celebrate Matisse and all of his work, from his complete palette of colour to how he brightens her life.
Chagall’s Poet with the Birds, by dl Mattilla
Here’s another selection that celebrates shimmering colours and dancing rhythm. It makes us crave spring and summer. I suspect Matilla sees herself as the poet on the canvas just as Wellehan moved in with Matisse. Both these poems appeared six years ago, but haven’t lose their power to lift my mood.
Lascaux II, by Neil Creighton
From poems about bright colours and flowers, we slip into the dark caves of Lascaux. Isn’t it inspiring to see how our earliest ancestors felt and respected the mysterious power of art? Whenever you need a day brightener, art, poetry, music, or a good book can give you a break from your worry du jour.
At the Guggenheim, or Working-Class Girl Meets Rothko, by Nancy Hewitt
Talk about being lifted from winter blahs, this Rothko canvas could easily take the place of an S.A.D. light. I love how Hewitt takes us with her to meet the painting at the Guggenheim and then builds on our intimacy when the narrator invites us into her life. Since the author is a psychotherapist, she knew she was giving us insights we could use.
Liminality, by Janina Aza Karpinska
Hopper’s paintings often have a stark, lonely, wintry quality to them, but Karpinska sees this work differently. She sees a young woman in a noisy train station finding her own respite where the clamor “doesn’t touch her.” And we sit soundlessly watching her, letting the racket in our heads quiet down, too.
Alarie Tennille is a longtime contributor to The Ekphrastic Review, a guest judge and guest editor, and a prize nomination consultant. Her ekphrastic book, Three A.M. at the Museum, was recently named Director’s Pick at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.
Call for Throwback Thursday selections!
Be a guest editor for a Throwback Thursday! We occasionally post this feature on Thursdays and would love to do so more often. Pick around 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, or a pulled line from the work, 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.
You sharing your favourites or making a random selection for discovery helps writers get readers. We have over 5000 pieces of ekphrastic literature on this site and at least 1000 different writers. Show us the ones that moved you over the years.
Along with your picks, send a vintage photo of yourself, too! Let's have fun with this!
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