An Ekphrastic Writing Group and a Poetry Competition

Ekphrastic Challenge

Ekphrasis is my favourite kind of writing at the moment – it’s a word used to describe the written response (usually in the form of a poem) to a piece of visual art. It provokes so many questions… Does the poem still make sense away from the artwork? Do the writer and artist agree on their interpretation of the piece? Can both poem and artwork interact and create new meanings together?   

Ekphrastic writing is also useful for anyone (like me) who suffers from writer’s block. Visual artwork starts to drip-feed into your subconscious, inspiring parts of your brain that you weren’t even aware of, and stimulating those inspirational cogs into an ekphrastic whirr.

The Gate art1

Art on the walls of The Gate

An Ekphrastic Writing Group

That’s why I decided to start a new writing group specifically to draw inspiration from visual art. It’s called From Paint to Page, and it meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at The Gate (7.45-9.30pm).

NB. We’ll be switching to the 4th Tuesday from November (28th).

If you live in Cardiff, feel free to come along to one of our sessions. If not, take a look at this online writing prompt from a poetry magazine called Rattle – they provide a new image each month, giving you the opportunity to write something in response and submit it for publication.

The recent photography exhibition

Artwork by Piotr in the photography exhibition

An Ekphrastic Challenge

Each year madeinroath organises a community arts festival which includes a number of literary events. This year (15th-22nd October) I’m running one! As well as my usual ekphrastic writing group (on Tuesday 17th October) where we’ll be inspired by the madeinroath Open Exhibition, I’m also organising a poetry competition.

prize for ekphrastic challenge

The prize includes a £15 book token and a fascinating art book

It will be called ‘Ekphrastic Challenge’ and the challenge is for people to write a poem in response to one of the works of art displayed as part of the festival. This really will be a challenge! You’ll have to leave your cosy home, visit some of the exhibitions (in all sorts of unusual places around Roath), pick a piece of artwork that interests you, take a photo of it, note down the details (artist’s name, title, location) and write a poem, all in the space of a few days.

The deadline will be 5pm on Friday 20th October, and I will be strict because this only gives the judges (local poets Mab Jones and Rhys Milsom) one day in which to read all the entries and agree on a winner! The winner will be announced on the madeinroath website on Sunday 22nd – the last day of the festival.

The prize is online publication, a £15 book token and a fascinating book on world art (purchased from the Aladdin’s Cave that is Troutmark Books). The winning entry will also be displayed at the art space ‘Three Doors Up’ in the Queens Arcade shopping centre (opposite the Post Office).

Here’s the Facebook event for the Poetry Competition, and here’s the Facebook event for the group meeting.

For inspiration and ideas why not take a look at these previous posts featuring ekphrastic writing:

Ekphrastic Poetry from Kelly Grovier

Book Review: Too Brave to Dream – newly discovered poems by R.S Thomas

Pre-Raphaelite Women: Poetry in Response to Art

And here’s an interesting list of 14 different ways to write an ekphrastic poem, on a blog post by Martyn Crucefix.

The madeinroath festival receives funding from the following:madeinroath funders

2 thoughts on “An Ekphrastic Writing Group and a Poetry Competition

    • We try to start by 7.50 / 7.55pm if possible – if you arrive later you may miss the introductions / first excercise.

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