#SOL19 Day 25 Spark! Ekphrasis

For the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 5.28.56 PMChallenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers Blog. Each day I will be sharing a Quick Write as my way of slicing. The idea is to offer a SPARK that will kindle thinking and then write as quickly as you can for 5-10 minutes. No filters, no revisions. I’ve been curating a collection of Sparks and will share some with you all month. It’s a great way to ignite your writing life.


This form of prose or poetry is inspired or stimulated by a work of art; the goal is to make the reader envision the art described as if it were physically present. The word ekphrastic is derived from the Ancient Greeks to mean “description”. I love how the art of writing and the art of painting can become symbiotic in this form.  See some examples HERE or check out the book World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (2018)

This is a fun quick write to try with kids when you offer them several examples of art work to choose from and invite them to quick write a description or a poem-ish piece as they look carefully at the paintings. Then if they choose to share, their classmates can try to guess which artwork they are writing about by attending to the description used.

Some pieces of art lend themselves to story, while others may create some dissonance or confusion for our budding art ‘aficionados’. Build up an eclectic collection of art work that spans multiple genres of art. We can build in a few minutes of art appreciation alongside writing and thinking-and that could make our students lives all the richer. Remember-they are quick so they don’t have to be polished or published, they just have to exist as evidence of thinking.

Here’s my quick write:


Can you guess the art work?

CLICK HERE to see what I see.

9 thoughts on “#SOL19 Day 25 Spark! Ekphrasis

  1. What a clever idea! We just started our poetry unit before spring break. I need to try this as an inspiration with students. Your poem is great–I did not guess the artwork.

  2. Ooh I love this! What a great way to get kids engaged with art and to work on descriptive vocabulary.
    I enjoyed your poem. With each phrase I went through my mental Rolodex of artwork.

  3. As an undergraduate I was an art history major. I even took a seminar on Picasso – yet did not guess this piece. Though your poem captured the visceral and emotional evocation of the art perfectly. I’m chalking up my inability to guess correctly because, sadly, there are so many art works can be interpreted this way.
    And you bet I will try this approach 🙂 Thank you!

  4. I think the bull should have been the clue, but I didn’t guess it either, although I know the painting pretty well. I think an abstract painting is maybe tough to describe? It’s a great idea to get students writing and appreciating art.

  5. Another great idea. We’re moving towards poetry in my class – I weave lots of pieces together, so there’s rarely a “unit” exactly – and I am going to have to gather up all these ideas & sort through so we can get playing & start writing.

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