Add more ekphrasis to your ELA lessons
Need some ekphrastic inspiration? If you’ve tried ekphrastic poetry with your students, you’ve no doubt found it an amazing way to fuse art and creative writing. In my own experience, I’ve assigned or explored ekphrastic poetry with my junior American literature students once each semester.
In those lessons, I’ve offered projects where students locate an artwork using Google Arts and Culture, and then write in response to those findings. And yes, those have been good, productive activities. Still, I’ve always thought students would benefit from another exposure to the form; however, I’ve wanted to offer that exposure in a different format to mix up the routine a bit.
As a result, through some good ol’ internet sleuthing, I discovered a website to share with you that’s totally devoted to ekphrasis (including poetry and other short writing modes) and a podcast produced by the same website.
These two resources are ones to be familiar with for your own creative writing classes.
Read on for a brief introduction to both of these ekphrastic treasure troves.
No. 1: The Ekphrastic Review
Use this website for daily prompts to fuel your ekphrasis… poetry, short fiction, or other creative writing, including creative nonfiction. Find this awesome resource at Ekphrastic.net.
With contests, submission opportunities in September (Yay! The very first month of school!), December, March, and June, students can send their work out into the publishing world for a nominal $5 fee that supports the volunteer-run website. See the website for criteria and other details, but know the main requirement is that the work be poetry, short fiction, microfiction, and/or creative nonfiction of 50-4,000 words. All work reviewed by the editors must also be ekphrastic, which means it must be “creative writing inspired by visual art.”
No. 2: TERcets Podcast
Incorporate listening standards by having students experience the ekphrastic poetry of others with a brief episode from the TERcets podcast from The Ekphrastic Review. “Each episode features three pieces selected by the host, Brian Salmons, from the Ekphrastic Review website, ekphrastic.net,” according to the Spotify listing. The poets read their poetry, which is always interesting. Episodes run from 10-15 minutes, the perfect length for a class opener or bell ringer.
Have students locate online the artwork on their phones or laptops before the poems are read, or you can project the artwork for the entire class. As they listen, have students write down three noticings that they can discuss after listening… imagery, rhyme, themes, word choice.
Ekphrastic poetry is probably one of the best kept secrets in ELA. If you haven’t tried it with your students, now is the best time, especially with National Poetry Month coming up in April.
If you need more resources, visit my Poetry Lessons page. For an Ekphrastic Poetry slide presentation to introduce the genre to your students complete with tips and student-written examples, visit my Site Shop for this resource.
Thanks for reading again this week! While many of my U.S. readers have been enjoying spring break, I still felt it would be good to touch base during the break before we gear up for the final push of the school year.
And don’t forget… April is coming! National Poetry Month! I’ve run onto a cool way to help your students create professionally bound chapbooks. Stay tuned by entering your email below. (I only send about four emails per year, so don’t think your inbox will overflow!) In return, I’ll send you a Treasured Object Poetry handout to use to get your National Poetry Month celebrations off and running on April 1!
Need a new poetry idea?
Enter your email below and I’ll send you this PDF file that will teach your students to write Treasured Object Poems, one of my favorite poem activities. I know your students will enjoy it!
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