In this lesson, students explore ekphrasis—writing inspired by art. Students begin by reading and discussing several poems inspired by works of art. Through the discussion, students learn ways in which poets can approach a piece of artwork (for instance, writing about the scene being depicted in the artwork, writing in the voice of the person depicted in the artwork, speaking to the artist or subject of the painting, etc.). Students then search online for pieces of art that inspire them and, in turn, compose a booklet of poems about the pieces they have chosen.
In this lessaon, students will have opportunities to:
- Read and analyze poems inspired by art.
- Discuss the methods poets use to write about artwork.
- Use Internet searching techniques to find several inspiring art pieces.
- Compose poems inspired by the artwork of their choosing.
Materials and Resources
To teach this lesson, you will need:
- Packet of Ekphrastic Poems
- Paint Me a Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art by Justine Rowden (Boyds Mills, 2005) (optional)
- Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art, edited by Jan Greenberg (Abrams, 2001) (optional)
- Line Break Explorer: The interactive explores the ways that poets choose line breaks in their writing. After viewing the demonstration, students are invited to experiment with line breaks themselves.
- Acrostic Poems: This online tool enables students to learn about and write acrostic poems. Elements of the writing process are also included.
- Diamante Poems: This online tool enables students to learn about and write diamante poems.
- Printing Press: The interactive Printing Press is designed to assist students in creating newspapers, brochures, and flyers.
- The Poet Speaks of Art
- Ekphrasis: Poetry Confronting Art
- Audio Recording of “Vincent” from Don McLean Online
- Poetic Forms & Techniques
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Louvre
- American Masters Database of Visual Artists
- “Vincent” lyrics