Ekphrasis is a tricky part of writing to me. I was initially turned off from the idea of writing from/about works of art, but I started to realize that you don’t have to write about art (which I feel like I don’t have the proper vocabulary/knowledge to discuss) because you can be inspired (find yourself referencing) everything from other writers to pop culture.
What had me thinking about this again was that my husband and I recently went to a free open weekend at The Mint Museum in Charlotte. I’m sort of ashamed to admit how long we have lived here without visiting it, especially since we do go to downtown occasionally. Mostly to eat! Lol! Do you notice you do that though? Take for granted the things closest to you? I lived near the coast of NC until I was 18, yet I never saw Cape Hatteras or Roanoke Island . . .
The Romare Bearden exhibit that was just ending was amazing. I loved that they had work from the 40′s into the 80′s (maybe 90′s?) yet the 50′s were missing. What was he doing during that time? It was fascinating to watch his progression as an artist and to see what different images and themes began to come obsessions; some temporarily and others for the lifetime of his work.
I walked away from the exhibit wanting to go back; wanting to see other cultural things in my area, but still feeling daunting about the language of vocabulary I have to communicate about visual arts. I was looking at one painting titled “Visitation” and I was fascinated by how he’d have a rock but yet you could see some of his lines beneath it. Why did he do that specifically? Why does a poet have a one word line in the midst of a longer work? I know, somehow, thoughts like these are connected, but it may take me a way to piece together just how they are.
Further in, I found myself most in love with his work in collage. How could I do more collage work in my poems? What that entail?
So, what am I trying to say here? Two things:
- Try visiting a museum, or taking in some music in the park. Do something in your area you normally wouldn’t do. Heck, even read a type of writing you normally wouldn’t just to see what it says to you.
- Don’t let your ignorance of something stop you from getting out there and trying new things. Like I try to tell my students: there is a big fancy word for everything you do. Learning those fancy words can be fun, but sometimes it is more important to just try even if you don’t yet know the word.
And – all in all – I hope this makes even a little bit of sense