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isiiad - Ekphrasis Awards-2

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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.

 

QUESTIONS FOR A CAVIAR SPOON

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

 

MY P(A)LACE

 She crafts her temple in anticipation

clothed with strength and dignity

breathlessly bears the mystifying

who are you?

deep inside

woman

 

Bulging belly births booties, building blocks, burp

domestic goddess abdicates her throne

water, cries, milk splatters

giver of life 

making me

mother

 

-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

 

POLLEN

 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.

 

 
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