Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Ekphrasis and the Role of Visual Art in Contemporary American Poetry

By Emma Kimberley

Abstract

This thesis engages with three US poets – Jorie Graham, Charles Wright and Mark Doty – as well as using other writing, from the Modernists to the ekphrastic collection, to engage with the context of ekphrasis, ‘the verbal representation of visual representation’, in the US.\ud After an introduction that evaluates previous work on ekphrasis and studies the forms of engagement between visual and verbal art, a section of three chapters is devoted to each poet. The first explores Jorie Graham’s work on abstract painting, photography and film, analyzing how she uses the different temporal conventions of each genre to write about the past. The second section looks at the links between memory and present perception in the work of Charles Wright and his struggle with how to represent as he follows the path to abstraction before returning to the more simple desire to say what he sees, accepting the sleight of hand that is necessarily a part of this. The third section goes on to explore the work of Mark Doty, a poet who embraces illusion in representation, arguing that the process of creating and deconstructing illusions is a fundamental part of how we define our own identity as well as how we make space for ourselves within the community. Refuting accusations that ekphrastic writing often depends too heavily on the visual artwork for its credibility, this section considers how it can be used positively as a tool for legitimation by writers who come from a minority perspective, analysing the visual aspect of poems on cruising, drag and public sex performances. A final section uses the relatively new phenomenon of the ekphrastic collection – with work by Cole Swensen, Debora Greger and Claudia Rankine– to examine how ekphrasis deals with issues of gender and iconic cultural images

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9042

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (2002). 21st -Century Modernism: The "New" Poetics, Blackwell Manifestos.
  2. A Call for Response:
  3. (2006). A Door Ajar: Contemporary Writers and Emily Dickinson.
  4. (1999). A Memoir.
  5. (2004). A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture.
  6. (2007). A Poem.
  7. (1988). A Poetics of Postmodernism: History,
  8. (2002). A Short History of the Shadow.
  9. (2005). American Foetry’.
  10. (2006). American Poetry in an Age of Constriction’.
  11. (2000). American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Supplement V: Russell Banks to Charles Wright:
  12. (1987). An Interview with Charles Wright’.
  13. (2006). An Interview with Claudia Rankine’.
  14. (2006). and the Metaphysics of the Line’. In High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright, edited by Adam Giannelli,
  15. (1997). Anyone for Ekphrasis? (Poetry on Visual Artworks)’.
  16. (2006). Ars Longa’. In High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright, edited by Adam Giannelli,
  17. (1997). Art and Artefact.
  18. (2003). Backwards Glances.
  19. (2000). Blue: Selected Later Poems.
  20. (2000). Camera Lucida. Translated by Richard Howard.
  21. (2006). Charles Wright and ‘the Metaphysics of the Quotidian”. In High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright, edited by Adam Giannelli,
  22. (1995). Charles Wright and Presences in Absence’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 172-83:
  23. (1995). Charles Wright and the High Lonesome’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  24. (1995). Charles Wright and the Landscape of the Lyric’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 167-71:
  25. (1985). Charles Wright: An Interview’.
  26. (2005). Charles Wright: Resurrecting the Baroque’. In Plenitude and Uncertainty: Five American Poets,
  27. (1995). Charles Wright's Country Music’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 86-93:
  28. (1995). Charles Wright's Hymn’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  29. (2001). Charles Wright's Via Negativa: Language, Landscape, and the Idea of God’.
  30. (2004). Charles Wright’s Via Mystica’.
  31. (2006). Collected Poems.
  32. (1999). Colour and Meaning: Art, Science and Symbolism. London: Thames and Hudson,
  33. (2002). Contemporary Poetry and Ekphrasis’. The Cambridge
  34. (1989). Criticism and the Visual Format of Poetry’.
  35. (2004). Cross-Dressing as Stevens Cross-Dressing’.
  36. (2006). Cultivating Picturacy: Visual Art and Verbal Interventions.
  37. (2003). Darkness Audible: Negative Capability and Mark Doty's Nocturne in
  38. (2004). Deleuze and ‘Distance’: The Stevens Intertext.’
  39. (2001). Derek Walcott: Politics and Poetics.
  40. (2004). Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. St Paul,
  41. (2002). Drag Acts: Performativity, Subversion and the Aids Poetry of Rafael Campo and Mark Doty’.
  42. (1990). edited by Elaine Scarry, 123-40: Johns Hopkins UP,
  43. (1983). Ekphrasis and the Postmodern Painter Poem’.
  44. (1992). Ekphrasis: The Illusion of the Natural Sign.
  45. (1994). Et & Wnc Expresslines: An Interview with Charles Wright’.
  46. (2005). Falls the Shadow’. The New Criterion 20, no. 10 (2007). http://newcriterion.com:81/archive/20/jun02/logan.htm ———. ‘The Great American Desert’.
  47. (1999). Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism.
  48. (1995). Five Reviews’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 53-66:
  49. (1995). From ‘An Elegist’s New England, a Buddhist's Dante”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 195-97: Oberlin OH:
  50. (1995). From ‘Lives in a Rearview Mirror”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 94-95:
  51. (1995). From ‘One for the Rose and the Southern Cross”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 67-71:
  52. (1992). From ‘the American Sublime,
  53. (1995). From ‘the Form of Concentration”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 160-62:
  54. (1995). From ‘the Pragmatic Imagination and the Secret of Poetry”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 105-09:
  55. (1995). From ‘the Trace of a Story Line”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 96-104:
  56. (1995). From ‘the Visionary Poetics of Philip Levine and Charles Wright”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  57. (1999). From Feeling to Form: Image as Translation in the Poetry of Charles Wright’.
  58. (1996). From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology.
  59. (2002). Gerhard Richter: An Artist Beyond Isms’.
  60. (2002). Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting. New York: The Museum of Modern Art,
  61. (2001). Giorgio Morandi’. In Modern Painters: Writers on Artists, edited by Barbara Minton. London: Dorling Kindersley,
  62. (2003). Graham: The Art of Poetry LXXXV’. The Paris Review,
  63. (1998). Graham’s ‘New Way of Looking”.
  64. (2005). Graham’s Incandescence’. In Jorie Graham: Essays on the Poetry, edited by Thomas Gardner.
  65. (2003). Graham’s The End of Beauty and a Fresh Look at Modernism’.
  66. (1997). Grasping at What's Most Difficult to Say’.
  67. (1998). Here in Hell’- an Essay by Mark Doty’.
  68. (2006). High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright.
  69. (2001). Hour. Iowa City:
  70. (2007). http://www.digifestival.net/2007/videos/video_festival_def.php?video=ZZI%5D J%60JV%60IVQ%60W%5CMXZUmNeOVKKV%1A%2B%23%1A%19&curren t=VPQO&id=142&table=video_movie&table_autore=movie&w=480&h=384 Swensen, Cole. The Glass Age.
  71. (1980). Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts.
  72. (1997). Iconoclasm in the Poetry of Jorie Graham'.
  73. (1995). Iconoclasm in the Poetry of Jorie Graham’.
  74. (1987). Iconology: Image,
  75. (2004). Identity: Charles Wright’s Backyard Metaphysics’.
  76. (1977). Improvisations and Interviews,
  77. (1995). Improvisations on Charles Wright's the World of the Ten Thousand Things’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  78. (2005). In a Queer Time and Place.
  79. (1997). In Introspections: Contemporary American Poets on One of Their Own Poems, edited by Robert Pack and Jay Parini.
  80. (1995). In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  81. (1995). In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews,
  82. interview by Leonard Lopate
  83. (1992). Interview with Jorie Graham’.
  84. (1975). Interviews with Francis Bacon.
  85. (1999). Iowa City:
  86. (1999). Jackson Pollock and the New York School’.
  87. (2000). John Keats’s 'Endymion’: An Article Bibliography’. The Paris Review 154
  88. (2005). Jorie Graham: Essays on the Poetry.
  89. (2003). Jorie Graham’s ____S’.
  90. (2001). Life with Oysters and Lemon.
  91. (2006). Looking for Landscapes”. In High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright, edited by Adam Giannelli,
  92. (2003). Mark Doty on America, Home and the Poet as Spokesperson’ Poets and Writers
  93. (2000). Memory and Ethics in Contemporary Poetry’.
  94. (1991). Metamorphosis within the Poetry of Charles Wright’.
  95. (1995). Metaphysics of the Image in Charles Wright and Paul Cézanne’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  96. (1980). Motherhood According to Bellini’. In Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, edited by
  97. (1994). Museum of Words: The Poetics of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery. Chicago and London:
  98. (1991). Music: Selected Early Poems.
  99. (2005). No Image There and the Gaze Remains’: The Visual in the Work of Jorie Graham.
  100. (1992). Non Tiene:
  101. (1995). Notes: Improvisations and Interviews. Ann Arbor:
  102. (1999). On Beauty and Being Just:
  103. (1993). On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham and London:
  104. (2006). Open Ground: American Mythologies and Jorie Graham’s ‘Pollock and Canvas”.
  105. (2002). Otherwise Than Being’: Imaged Simultaneity and Collapsed Space in Two Contemporary Poems’.
  106. (2005). Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets. Ann Arbor:
  107. (2000). Paths to the Absolute. London: Thames and Hudson,
  108. (2001). Piet Mondrian’. In Modern Painters: Writers on Artists, edited by Barbara Minton,
  109. (2005). Poems Living with Paintings: Cole Swensen’s Ekphrastic Try’.
  110. (1998). Poetic Standard Time: The Zones of Charles Wright’.
  111. (1997). Poetry of Transcendence’.
  112. (2005). Queer(y)ing ‘Nature”. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies:
  113. (1991). Region of Unlikeness.
  114. (1992). Rereading the New: A Backward Glance at Modernism. Ann Arbor:
  115. (2006). Resurrecting the Baroque’. In High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright, edited by Adam Giannelli,
  116. (2002). Richter 858. San Francisco: Shifting Foundation/SFMOMA,
  117. (2001). Rooting for the Damned’. In The Poet's Dante: Twentieth-Century Responses, edited by
  118. (2006). Rothko: Writings on Art.
  119. (1995). Says: On Recent Poetry.
  120. (2005). School of the Arts.
  121. (2002). Seeing Venice: Bellotto's Grand Canal.
  122. (1975). Selected Poems 1908-1969.
  123. (1992). Selected Poems. Translated by Merryn Williams. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe,
  124. (2003). Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  125. (1998). Sex in Public (Intimacy)’.
  126. (2005). Sexual Sensibility, and Poetic Practice: Reading Cavafy through Mark Doty and Cathal O Searcaigh’.
  127. (1991). Shambhala Publications inc.,
  128. (1995). Slide-Wheeling around the Curves’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 39-52:
  129. (1992). Soil and Man's Intelligence: Three Contemporary Landscape Poets’.
  130. (2003). Some Thoughts on ‘A Mind Thinking”.
  131. (1989). Speaking the Silence: Contemporary Poems on Paintings’.
  132. (2000). Swan & Bethlehem in Broad Daylight. Urbana and Chicago:
  133. (1995). That Lock Our Wrists to the Past’: Self-Portraiture and Autobiography in Charles Wright's Poetry’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 110-44:
  134. (1991). The 1960s’ in A Profile of Twentieth-Century American Poetry edited by Jack Myers and David Wojahn, 190-223. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois
  135. (1994). The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History. Ann Arbor:
  136. (1995). The Blood Bees of Paradise’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 184-94:
  137. (2005). The Boston Review, September/October
  138. (1995). The Breaking of Style:
  139. (1995). The Capabilities of Charles Wright’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom
  140. (1975). The Complete Poems.
  141. (2003). The Dream of Modernism’. Paideuma:
  142. (1987). The End of Beauty.
  143. (1997). The Errancy.
  144. (1998). The Future of Memory.
  145. (1995). The Given and the Made: Strategies of Poetic Definition:
  146. (2005). The Norton Anthology of Poetry. Fifth ed.
  147. (2003). The Pale Hems of the Masters’ Gowns’: Mediterranean Voices and Shadows in the Poetry of Charles Wright’.
  148. (2003). The Panorama Mesdag’. In Open House: Writers Redefine Home, edited by Mark Doty,
  149. (1994). The Poetics of Space. Translated by Maria Jolas.
  150. (2005). The Selling of 9/11: How a National Tragedy Became a Commodity.
  151. (1992). The Still Performance: Writing, Self, and Interconnection in Five Postmodern American Poets: Charlottesville: UP of Virginia,
  152. (1995). The Transcendent ‘I”. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 1-20:
  153. (1990). The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990.
  154. (2005). The Wrong End of the Rainbow, Quarternote Chapbook Series.
  155. (2006). Theory of the Sublime (Poem)’.
  156. (1994). Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation.
  157. (2002). To Feel an Idea’.
  158. (1996). Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins
  159. (1995). Under the Sign of the Cross’. In The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright, edited by Tom Andrews, 72-85:
  160. (2001). Unnatural Relations? Language and Nature in the Poetry of Mark Doty and Les Murray’.
  161. (2001). Venus in Exile: The Rejection of Beauty in 20th-Century Art.
  162. (1994). Vie et mort de l'image’.
  163. (1998). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’. In Literary Theory: An Anthology, edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan.
  164. (1914). Vorticism.’ The Fortnightly Review.
  165. (1972). Ways of Seeing. London: The BBC and Penguin Books,
  166. (2005). Western Art (Book Review)’.
  167. (2007). Years: A Memoir.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.