Ekking phrastastic

I’ve always enjoyed visual art as a spectacle, and as a sensorial experience, and then there something to appreciating the sheer skill involved. But there’s more (it’s me here, there was always going to be more). I want to say something about art and narrative opportunities, but that isn’t quite right. It’s more like a painting (say) might be a flat surface, but it’s closer to a plane of possibilities and analogies that interact with other planes.

Let’s go with that. But, um. Now I’ve done it. I don’t want to get all theoretical but I’m going to have to. Indulge me for a moment. Imagine a painting that is a plane, but this surface is like spreading, difficult to kill couch grass, full of snaking tendril runners and sturdy root systems called rhizomes. Now imagine another plane (say poetry couch grass). When these planes get close enough, they look like overlapping lawns, perhaps they fold over each other a bit Inception Paris like. These couch grass planes interact through their runners, which are made of many different things: word play, language, myth, history, memory, colour, mathematics, feeling, music. Now nestled up close together, interacting in new ways, in the vast lawn of its total becoming, no one plane or runner or rhizome root is more important than another but each contributes to the whole and some to parts. When the plane of poetry meets the plane of painting their runners of language, history, theory, folklore, technique interact (in me) and in a moment, something new is created. Perhaps. I might be making all of this up. Imagination could be a couch grass tendril, or a rhizome, or a plane all of its own.

There you have it, I’ve accidently given you what maybe an evolving semi-Deleuze and Guattari A Thousand Plateaus inspired interpretation of what might be happening in my brain when I set myself a task to produce a poem about a piece of art. What a load of pixelated analogues. It’s as true as any convoluted thing I could say to describe what could occur, but even this explanation is a performance, it is both me and not me. These letters in words I’ve arranged and rearranged on something made to look like a page in a vast library of similar pages in a supermassive black hole of library that is also the universe. Thanks Jorge Luis Borges I’m another babbler in your Library of Babel.

A vast and largely empty plain of short green grassland under a cloud scudded sky,

Ah yes, behold the vast grassy plain where my metaphors go to die

Anyway, if you’d like to thankfully forget all this nonsense and get to the reason I’m here, you can peruse an actual poem about an actual painting by reading my contribution, Questions About a Beach, written in response to the Müfide Kadri Challenge over at The Ekphrastic Review.

Thanks for bearing with me.

The 2023 Writing Update

  • Rejections: 29
  • Pending: 21
  • Accepted (3 carried over from 2022): 8
  • Published: 7