Introduction to Ekphrastic Poetry









Age Range:

Reid Maruyama


December 29, 2020

6:00 - 8:00pm EST


2-hr. Seminar

Live Online via Zoom

Min. 4 / Max. 15 Students

14 - 19

Reid Maruyama.jpg
Reid Maruyama


The term “Ekphrasis” comes from Ancient Greek and can be translated literally to “Description.” In the poetic tradition, ekphrasis uses lyric poetry to describe, discuss, and illuminate visual works of art.

The principle idea of an ekphrastic poem is it engages the art and opens up a dialogue between poem and painting, positioning the reader between the two so that the reading of the poem might illuminate aspects of the painting and vice versa.

”Introduction to Ekphrastic Poetry” is a 2-hour Poetry Seminar focused on changing the very way you read and interpret poetry through a deep dive into the concept of ekphrastic poetry! The beauty of “ekphrasis” as a form is it gives you an arena to observe your own observing; it helps hone your vision, what you pay attention to, and how you pay attention to it. It gives you a method for engaging with the world, through another medium, and allows you to “think” through the visual. Finally, with ekphrastic poetry, you will be able to weave into your writing the art that truly inspires you.

This Seminar course will include directed group discussion of several exemplary Ekphrastic poems and associated paintings, interactive and generative creative writing exercises, and an opportunity to share each other’s work in progress before the end of the class.


  • Explore the methods and techniques of ekphrastic poetry, including several models of exemplary poems and works of art

  • Hone analytical skills through critical discussion and analysis of ekphrastic poetry readings

  • Tap into their somatic and sensory experiences in order to write more readily, more potently, and more joyfully

  • Discover community in the generative collaborative writing experience

  • Study and practice select poetic devices, such as use of line breaks, enjambment, symbolism, and metaphor

  • Build writing endurance and imaginative skills through unique ekphrastic writing exercises and prompts with an emphasis on the generative process

  • Gain confidence by sharing your work (optional!) and exchanging useful feedback with other writers