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  • Writer's pictureMelodie Bolt

Ekphrastic Poetry in Lansing

The Lansing Art Gallery offered a class with Lansing poet laureate Dennis Hinrichsen to develop ekphrastic poetry with the work of artist Peter Arbrami. You can click here for a peek at some of Arbrami's work.

Hinrichsen shared a piece by child poet Arthur Rimbaud whose poetry influenced the development of Surrealism and symbolism. We also dipped into a short discussion of synesthesia. An example, given by our mentor, was, "My mother's voice in the morning sounded like pink cut with yellow" and he then offered, "My father's anger smelled like cigarettes."

Peter Arbrami's Work

Our approach was to select a piece of Arbrami's work and consider the title (many of which were fantastically evocative). Hinrichsen then suggested we take a large blank page and markers and explore what associations we could make with the colors. Paraphrasing his words, our poetic duty for the evening was to, "...throw junk on the page and exhaust all those things."

I worked with Arbrami's piece entitled "Interface."

Arbrami's "Interface"

I've also attached my worksheet so you can see the colors on the blank page and how I began working through some options for description and associations.

Melodie Bolt's Worksheet

The process helped me write something completely different and more surprising, I think, than if I had simply started jotting lines in my notebook.

I'm back again on Tuesday to listen to ideas on mapping the poem with line breaks, stanzas, etc., and I'm pretty excited.

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