Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 381

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 394
isiiad - Ekphrasis Awards-2

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 326

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 339

Ekphrasis Awards

Baigent Caviar Spoon copy 2

Simon Icarus BAIGENT Caviar Spoon 1995  gold, ebony, mother of pearl, diamond, ruby  0.5cm x 5.5cm x 2.0cm ©Simon Icarus Baigent (Photo by Silvi Glattauer) Collection: Nillumbik Shire Council

If Ekphrastic poetry is the conversation between two pieces of art, EA Horne's lusciously sensuous words create the perfect conversation with Simon Baigent's shamelessly decadent work of art.



gold, ebony, mother of pearl, diamond, ruby:

you lack for nothing, spoon - except use!

too precious for the table, empty in your

arthouse, what is it you miss most?

the slow salt suck

of plump lips,

the tingle and bright pop of 

tongues' ecstasy,

the lingering kiss of 

brides and kings

or the cry

of the wild sturgeon?


-EA Horne

Ekphrasis singer

Nelle May and the Odyssey Band - comprising singer Nelle May (above), Dylan Smith, Jackson Phelan.

Nillumbik Shire have announced the winners of their inaugural Ekphrasis Award. Music, good food and a little frisson of expectation preceded the announcement.  Then actor Debra Lawrance read the winning poems with such beauty that this audience member was reduced to tears... on more than one occasion.  Words... all so beautifully combined, meaning so much.

Ekphrasis Deborah Lawrence

I recently read that the writer Jeanette Winterson regularly 'learns' a new poem.  She reads the chosen poem many times, often in front of the mirror. Her advice...

"But what I always say to people is, look, the language of a poem may seem difficult or even off-putting at first, because it's quite a complex language and it's very dense.  The best thing is to always read it out loud.  There's nothing better than reading out loud to get the sense of something.  And then you'll stumble over the bits you don't understand, of course you will, but then when you read them again, it begins to smooth out and make sense. Everything like that should be read out loud; every time I find something new, I read it out loud.   When I'm learning a poem, I do it in front of the mirror, and I'll tell you something really wierd that happens: the moment you recite a poem in front of the mirror, you are watching your own expression, and you watch yourself change as the poem enters you.  And it's a good test for anybody to do, because it really happensRamona Koval Speaking Volumes Conversations with remarkable writers 2010 Scribe Melbourne Page 363

Reminding me that poems must be read out loud, before the reader really 'gets' it.  Guess what I've been doing lately...in front of the mirror? Trying to get my tongue around- "the slow salt suck of plump lips, the tingle and bright pop of tongues' ecstacy."  with just the right timing, all the while, channelling Debra Lawrance. Give it a try, it's sort of like yoga for the mind.

In their wisdom, Nillumbik Shire have printed twelve postcards in all, each one with a work of art on one side and the chosen poem on the other. Treasures. My set of the postcards sits on my coffee table, so that every now and again I can revisit them.  I especially love MY P(A)LACE for its evocations of womanhood and motherhood...

Schreiber My Place

Libby SCHREIBER My Place 2012 lino-cut  77cm x 61cm framed  ©Libby Schreiber  Collection: Nillumbik Shire Council



 She crafts her temple in anticipation

clothed with strength and dignity

breathlessly bears the mystifying

who are you?

deep inside



Bulging belly births booties, building blocks, burp

domestic goddess abdicates her throne

water, cries, milk splatters

giver of life 

making me



-Catherine Dinkelmann


Nillumbik Shire's Huon pine sculpture, The Talisman Seed by Stephen Hughes, inspired the winning poem by Meaghan Bell.

Ekphrasis Talisman Seed

Stephen HUGHES The Talisman Seed c. 80's Huon Pine 30cm x 25cm diameter © Stephen Hughes (Photo by Silvi Glattauer)  Collection: Nillumbik Shire Council



 spiralling out like breath

or the golden mean

greater than zero but not by much


the architectural dispensing of secrets

or spinning out code 

rising through loam and ashes


a husk birthing knowledge

or lips parted for a kiss

it starts small, a microcosm 


the subtle germination 

or geometry of spores 

history on the wind


-Meaghan Bell 


I was delighted to hear that with 116 entries this year and an award night attended by 90 people, the Nillumbik Ekphrasis Award will certainly be repeated next year...Next year's theme, Earth Plus will no doubt reveal some interesting works of art from Nillumbik's collection. Something to look forward to for lovers of visual arts and poetry.

For more information about the Ekphrasis Awards, check out Nillumbik Shire's website.

Artworks and poems are published here with the permission of the Nillumbik Shire and the poets.


Parent Category: Arts
Facebook Image

Mary-Lou Pittard

Mary-Lou Pittard Photograph taken with the permission of the Light Factory Gallery Eltham and Mary-Lou Pittard©. With the Nillumbik Artist's Open Studios fast approaching in… More…

Birrarung House, Day Two

Birrarung House, Day Two Every cloud has a silver lining. Two days of trying to hook up to the www to post my blogs have led to me making a temporary 'office' in the courtyard at… More…

Strathewen Letterboxes

Strathewen Letterboxes Look what I spied on the way to The Chook Project in Strathewen. I just had to share them with you. These letterboxes certainly brightened up my day.… More…

Nillumbik Artists Open Studios-Jane Annois

Nillumbik Artists Open Studios - Jane Annois This weekend sees the Nillumbik artists open their studios to the public once again. Last week I had way too much fun meeting one of… More…

Dunmoochin Opening

Dunmoochin Opening Dunmoochin was alive with people and the paintings of Barbara Hauser on the weekend. Shane Pugh (Clifton Pugh's son) and Barbara, celebrated the opening below.… More…

Kaya Storm - Open Studios

Kaya Storm This is where it all begins... Photograph by Kerry Cross Best word to describe this work is elegant. Simple sculptural shapes made from simple materials with… More…

Birrarung Symphony in Bird Minor

Birrarung Symphony in Bird Minor When I was at uni, way too many moons ago, I often hung out with the music students. One in particular, who would share the progress of his… More…

Work in Progress

Work in Progress I'm working on a doozy of a blog today. I visited the studio of Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn yesterday. It's one of those blogs where the difficulty has been in… More…

Stop Press

STOP PRESS! Arts Talks 2011 This information has been distributed by the Arts, Local Government and Climate Change Forum Tuesday 3 May, 10am -12.00 noon followed by morning… More…

Akira Takizawa

Akira Takizawa I'm interested in what happens when two very talented creative people partner up. It's definitely a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I'm… More…

Stephanie Mew

Stephanie Mew (Detail) I have to admit that I couldn't get enough of Stephanie's work. So this is the first of two posts I'm planning to show you. I went down to her exhibition at… More…

Artist in Residence Life Drawing Session

Artist in Residence Life Drawing Session I've been hanging out for September like you wouldn't believe. On the 21st I'll be taking up my artist in residence at Birrarung House.… More…

Baldessin Studio

Baldessin Press (Studio) Here's another little taster from the Baldessin Studio at St Andrews just north of Melbourne. These photos came across my email today. They were taken… More…

Material Things

Material Things ©Libby Schrieber Apple Picking Saints, silk cut linoleum print There's a little number that's been tucked away at the back of my wardrobe for what seems like a… More…

Jessie Imam

Jessie Imam Birds. I love everything about them. Their feathers, their flight, their song and their nests. Here's an artist whose work might just appeal to you as much as it does… More…

Launch of The First Train to Allwood

Launch of The First Train to Allwood at The Wattle Festival What better place to launch the local yarn bombing spectacular - The First Train to Allwood - than at the 2012… More…

Hugh McSpedden

Tripping the Light Fantastic with Hugh McSpedden Well not tripping exactly or even dancing for that matter, but "light fantastic", without a doubt. The exterior of St Andrews Hall… More…

Ev Hales-A Work in Progress

Ev Hales-A Work in Progress Yesterday saw the launch of Ev Hales eagerly anticipated, self published book "A Work in Progress". As the name suggests, it illuminates the process… More…

The Chook Project

The Chook Project Photograph courtesy of Barbara Joyce. Today is the Third Anniversary of the Black Saturday Fires. I want to mark the event with a story that has in turn, made me… More…

First Train to Allwood

First Train to Allwood "The first train to Allwood [now Hurstbridge] arrived on June 25th 1912 and we're going to yarnbomb a fence to celebrate". So say the organisers of this… More…