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Mini-Workshop: Writing an Ekphrastic Poem in Response to a Visual Work of Art


What is an ekphrastic poem?

Broadly defined, an ekphrastic poem describes another work of art:  a painting or statue, a piece of music, a dance, etc.





Listed: Poems inspired by paintings. A Selection of 10 Great Poems and the Paintings that Inspired Them.  (

What is Ekphrastic Poetry? How Poets Engage with Art. (Thoughtco.c0m)



10 Ekphrastic Poems


Tips for writing an ekphrastic poem
  • Choosing one artwork that you respond to (touches, puzzles, frightens, clarifies) is key.
  • Go broad or go small: Write about the scene as a whole—or focus on a specific detail.
  • Choose an approach—there is no right or wrong way to write your poem:
  1. Write as an outsider: Write from the perspective of a “narrator”—how you are moved by the scene or subject depicted in the artwork as an objective observer (not just a description of what you see).
  2. Write as an insider: Imagine yourself standing “inside” the artwork, then write in the subjective voice of the person or objects shown.


5 Tips for Writing Ekphrastic Poetry. (