Ekphrastic Speculative Poetry
edited by John C. Mannone
Introduction to Issue 14
I am grateful to be the guest editor for this issue of Eye to the Telescope. I believe that art begets art, so to speak. Ekphrasis is just that. “Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness” (Wikipedia). Though it can apply to many forms of art, in this issue Ekphrasis is the poetic interpretation of visual art. I had chosen artwork with varying degrees of abstract and surreal images to inspire a wide variety of precisely 100-word poems. I have found that abstract images lend themselves for more creative interpretation than concrete ones, but concrete images tease a narrative, so they too are valuable prompters. I imposed this restriction in hopes of increasing creativity and the number of viable poems for publication. Indeed, poets submitted around 125 poems. Unfortunately, I had to turn away some very good poems simply because they did not comply—generally, they were much too long. Of the 100 qualifying poems, submissions were somewhat unevenly distributed with the most poems stimulated by picture #4 (Origins III), while the fewest poems came from picture #7 (Quantum Fractals): #1 (17%), #2 (16%), #3 (14%), 4 (25%), #5 (10%), #6 (11%), #7 (6%).
In selecting poetry for this issue, I looked for well-crafted poems with respect to literary devices as well as having some level of literary depth. I expected to see more prose poems, but received a wide variety of lineated poems. I mostly considered how well the poem stood on its own, but was delighted when the poem offered more when seen in concert with the visual image.
By editorial preference, I decided to arrange the poems in alphabetical order by poem title as they appear under each picture. I hope you enjoy these synergistic creative works.