Poetry Lessons: Ekphrastic Poetry Presentation with Mentor Texts


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PDF file. Updated 2/2023. If you need a break from essays and literary analysis but still want to build language skills and expose students to MORE ART, treat your students to EKPHRASTIC POETRY! 
(Or… if you need a fun activity just before a break or need an easy-to-do activity for a substitute, use this presentation! Students will need one to two class periods to do this activity. Need an extra class period covered? Have kids read present their poems alongside their chosen artwork on day 2!)
Use this colorful slide presentation to introduce this fun and CREATIVE activity. The sixteen slides in this PDF file, which I’ve used with success in my own classroom, introduce ekphrastic poetry… poetry that describes, re-interprets, or re-imagines a student’s chosen artwork.
This presentation features famous ekphrastic poem examples by: John Keats, William Carlos Williams, William Blake, plus three student-written examples, including one that especially appeals to boys, and another written about a musical piece. I’ve also included an example of a humorous ekphrastic poem written for American Gothic by Grant Wood.
Also included:
  • I also offer a few tips in a bulleted list about halfway through the slides, and then that slide appears again at the end, so students can refer to it as they start crafting their own poems.
  • The presentation also includes a suggestion for students to use Google Arts and Culture to find quality artwork. Stress this point, so students don’t wander the Internet aimlessly searching for images! After searing Google Arts and Culture, suggest students to find the same artwork on Wikimedia Commons. 
  • For students who struggle to get started, I added a final slide that suggests writing a short paragraph to describe an artwork. After writing their paragraphs, students can select words from the paragraph and assemble and arrange into a poem. A brief example is provided.
Have fun with ekphrastic poetry! If you need an additional sheet to pass out to students that also explains the basics with another example poem (written by yours truly using a Frida Kahlo self-portrait, btw), check out my go-with resource on TpT: Ekphrastic Poetry Handout


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