Ekphrasis. Pardon me? What did you say?

Until a few years ago, I wasn’t familiar with the word ekphrasis. Hence, “Pardon me? What did you say?”

Then I participated in an event conducted by the National League of American Pen Women, Palm Springs Branch, an organization composed of writers, artists, and musicians. For the project, each artist submitted a painting and each writer then chose one of the pieces of art to write about.

I’d written poems and stories inspired by works of art before, but, through this event, I discovered there was a name for this type of writing. Ekphrasis (pronounced ek’ phra sis), a Greek word, means a writing that comments on another art form. The Poetry Foundation defines an ekphrastic poem as “a vivd description of a scene or work of art.”

When I looked at this delightful watercolor by artist Lynn Centeno, and read its title “Girls’ Night Out”, I quickly found words to write. Not serious words, but playful ones … the girls surveying “the action” in an exclusive country club … the girls talking.

Well, not really talking. They’re dishing. Drop in on the conversation …


“Girls’ Night Out”
by La Quinta artist Lynn Centeno

Girls’ Night Out

“Do you see what I see?
Oh, my, can it really be?
That’s dear Ingrid’s husband with a tart.
When did that affair start?”
said the girlfriend wearing her hat of orange.

“Do you see what I see?
Carla’s divorce has set her free.
Now she’s busy cougaring here.
The poor boy’s not dry behind the ear,”
said the girlfriend under an aqua plume.

“Do you see what I see?
Is it him or is it me?
The tall one sitting next table over
Is giving me the eye. Oh, he’s a Rover,”
said the girlfriend beneath a mauve chapeau.

The girlfriends never miss this night
Of shock, of awe, and sheer delight,
To dish, to sip their chardonnay
And savor an evening of delicious play.

                                                                                                       C. S. M.  2012

The watercolor and accompanying poem were part of an exhibition called Creativity in La Quinta Take Two at the La Quinta Museum. (October 10, 2013 through January 4, 2014.)

To enjoy more of Lynn Centeno’s art, visit http://www.lynncenteno.com

To learn more about the National League of American Pen Women: http://www.nlapw.org  

To read a well-known example of ekphrastic poetry by poet John Keats … http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173742

Wishing you a Happy New Year … time to dish … and happy writing!

About cmwriter

I'm a writer ... of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I blog about writing, short stories, poetry, books, plays, and thoughts on life. Love reading and travel and being with friends!
This entry was posted in Creativity, Finding Ideas: The Creative Process, Inspiration, Looking for Inspiration, poetry, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ekphrasis. Pardon me? What did you say?

  1. Susan says:

    On a recent broadcast of Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor read a poem he wrote while sitting in a coffee shop (I think) and commenting on the people all around him coming and going, and here it is again – What absolute fun is this? Girls Night Out – I really enjoyed this ~

  2. Love the post! Adore the poem! Happy New Year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s