Friday, July 17, 2009

A One-Woman Waterfall

For openers, here's The Emperor's New Sonnet by Jose Garcia Villa:

That certainly was food for thought, wasn't it? I liked the way the motifs came together unexpectedly.

X.J. Kennedy uses words so beautifully to describe the action of the painting below by Marcel Duchamp -- a "snowing" that sifts, swings, and falls, to finally collect itself at the bottom. This kind of poetry (poetry in response to a piece of visual art) is called ekphrastic poetry.

Nude Descending a Staircase
By X. J. Kennedy (1961)

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh--
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.


There is a terrific lesson plan about ekphrastic poetry on Read Write Think.

Some examples here. Scroll down a little and read W.H. Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts. Super!

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