Ekphrasis in Response to the Non-Figurative Image

Wright, Patrick (2017). Ekphrasis in Response to the Non-Figurative Image. Axon: Creative Explorations, 7(2)

URL: https://www.axonjournal.com.au/issues/7-2/ekphrasi...


Given that the majority of poems and criticism on the subject of ekphrasis have emerged with a figurative image in mind, I wish to discuss the composition of poems in response to images that are almost entirely without form. A late painting by J.M.W. Turner (Sunrise with Sea-monsters) will be presented as a case study, one looking at how contemporary poets – including my own practice – might engage with (near) formlessness, as is often represented in the seascape genre. Questions to be explored can be summarised thus: What occurs in the transposition of lacunal images into words? Is there an alchemy between seeing/mis-seeing and writing? How does such a dynamic go beyond representation? To advance on past work in this area I will also employ postmodern theory, which – like the non-figurative image, developments in modern art, and looking at more obscure art works – has been neglected in ekphrasis criticism thus far.

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