Blog 8: Ekphrastic poetry inspired by Romani artists and their works

Artist Ceiji Stojka, Holocaust (O Porrajmos) survivor, with one of her paintings

Artist Ceiji Stojka, Holocaust (O Porrajmos) survivor, with one of her paintings

This week’s blog is dedicated to ekphrastic poetry, that is, poetry about visual art. So your assignment is to write a 20 line free-verse poem on/inspired by a work of art by a Romani artist. Quite a number of the writers anthologized in Roads of the Roma, so if you have the book, check out the contributor’s bios at the back of the book and do some research on their artworks. Look for something that ‘calls to you,’ you might not necessarily like or dislike the artwork–look for something that strikes you as interesting. Spend some time analyzing the piece– look for symbols, consider the title, materials, color, shape, texture, shape, line, tone, mood, read the artist’s statement if there is one, and come up with some ideas about what the message of the work might be. What is its ‘argument’? Write your observations as your 300 word blog post, and post a link to the artwork that you find so we can see what we’re all working on.

Then, you’re ready to write your poem. You might want to write about the piece’s message, or describe the piece in detail as though it were a place/thing (real or imaginary), you might take a small symbol, metaphor, or idea and run with it in your own direction. Allow yourself to experiment. A good way to acknowledge and reference you’re inspired by is to include the artwork’s title and the artist’s name in your title, a subtitle, or in the body your poem. Experiment to see what seems more natural for your poem. Use some of the poetic terms and techniques that we’ve gone over in class: metaphor, simile, rhyme and slant rhyme (remember to keep it free-verse), repetition, rhythm, imagery, sensory detail, and your individual creativity.

Here’s a list of some links to get you started, but feel free to do your own research:

Romani Arts– affiliated with Pacific University

Romani Design– fashion by Erika Varga— Hungary’s first haute couture Romani fashion designer

The New Romani Art: a lecture by Thomas Acton, Emeritus Professor of Romani Studies, University of Greenwich, UK

Romani Cultural Arts & Company

The Gypsy Chronicles Roma Artists— a list of artists for you to look up

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