Ekphrastic Paint Chip Poetry Prompt

I am so excited about this week’s prompt. We’re in the E section of the poetry dictionary by John Drury and that means we get to write ekphrastic poetry. I love writing poetry inspired by photos and that fits the definition of ekphrastic poetry. Still aren’t sure what I’m talking about? Well let me provide you with Drury’s definition (or at least the first part; it’s two full pages long).

EKPHRASTIC POETRY (ek-fras’-tik; Greek, “speaking out”; also spelled ecphrastic) Poetry that imitates, describes, critiques, dramatizes, reflects upon, or otherwise responds to a work of nonliterary art, especially visual. Although paintings may be the most common subjects of poems about visual art, there are also poems about sculptures, drawings, prints, and architecture. . . .

Photograph poems are somewhat different, since they are based upon pictures, perhaps snapshots from a family album, not ordinarily intended as works of art. Although they respond to images in visual medium, photograph poems usually deal with artifacts of everyday life, as in Eric Pankey’s “A Photograph of My Parents Ice Skating, 1954.” Poems that focus on photographic art, such as the work of Walker Evans or Diane Arbus, are not very different from painting poems. . . .

Nevertheless, all of these kinds of poems depend upon a second-hand image rather than the people or places themselves. Plato would call them imitations of imitations. The poem that merely replicates the painting (or other visual work) seems flat indeed. It should add something in its language that takes off from the picture, or talks back to it.

the poetry dictionary, pages 84-85

The Challenge

Now to the challenge. I have selected seven photos from my camera, ones that I consider a bit artistic. I suspect great minds will think differently, but I do hope you’ll find at least one that seems artistic to you. I would like you to select one photo from my gallery to write about. Feel free to use that photo with credit to me if you post your poem on your own blog.

(c) 2021 L. Kruschke
(c) 2021 L. Kruschke
(c) 2021 L. Kruschke
(c) 2021 L. Kruschke
(c) 2021 L. Kruschke

This week you have six paint chip words and phrases (well, five words and one phrase) to choose from. I’d like you to use at least three in your ekphrastic poem to “add something to its language that takes off from the picture, or talk[s] back to it.”

The available paint chips are croissant, warm glow, waffle, heavenly, succulent, and rattlesnake.

My Poem

Since these are all my photos, ones I love, I found it difficult to choose which one I would let inspire my poem. In the end, the challenge to “talk back” to the photo itself landed me squarely on the photo of Alucard the cat.


The warm glow of sunlight
captured by the camera lens
as it plays upon Alucard's
usually jet-black fur
that waffles to sweet
succulent brown suggesting
a heavenly disposition

What this sweet photo
fails to reveal is how
if you turn your back
said cat may strike
like a silent rattlesnake
at your bare summer heel

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn to pick a photo and be inspired. If you post your poem in the comments, be sure to note which picture you chose. Otherwise, post your poem and the picture on your own blog and drop a link in the comments. I do hope every photo ends up inspiring at least one poem.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


21 Responses

  1. I’m happy to see you are excited about ekphrastic. When you get to the letter “S”, I would like to put in a vote for doing a Sea Shanty.

    I didn’t read the challenge very well until my poem was completer. Therefore, I did not see or adhere to the part of the challenge to use one of your photos. Here is my entry, based on one of my photos…

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