Writing Prompt

Writing Prompt: Ekphrasis

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Writing is an exercise, flex your creative muscles with this writing prompt below. HUGE shout out to contributor Josh Medsker for writing this, we hope to feature more from him in the future!


Ekphrasis means simply, to write a description of visual art. Many writers and artists have done this, going back to Plato, who did the heavy philosophical lifting on the idea. A modern example might be William Carlos Williams’s poem, “Landscape with The Fall of Icarus”, which tells the story of the Greek myth of the inventor Dedalus, and his son Icarus, who soars to the heavens on wings of wax, and drowns after falling from the sky. Williams used Pieter Brueghel’s painting of the same name as his inspiration for the poem. (On a side note, ekphrasis is used in classical music as well. And if you are interested, British metal gods Iron Maiden tell their own version of the story as “Flight of Icarus”, on their Piece of Mind album. It’s incredible.)

Go to a museum in your town, and wander around the exhibits. If there are no museums in your town, go online and search for artists you enjoy or have heard about.

With a note pad and pen in hand, begin to describe whatever work catches your eye. If there seems to be a story, tell it in the most honest way you know how.

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