I have been thinking a good deal about poetry and the visual arts these last few days. I learned that the first ekphrasis were poems written about art objects that did not exist like Achille's Shield which was re-imagined by W. H. Auden in his poem The Shield of Achille's bringing the imagine into a 20th century consciousness. I had always felt that there was something a little stuffy about poets writing about paintings (or sculpture or architecture) until I found myself so enraptured by a photograph that it stayed with me for four years until I tracked it down again. I had spent an hour at the Frye Art Museum waiting for a friend when I had come across a traveling exhibit of Pioneer Women Photographers and had fallen in love with a photograph called "Hunger is the Best Cook" by Myra Albert Wiggins who is picture above in a self portrait.
That's a long introduction to a simple question: do you write poems inspired by visual art (which can include bumper stickers, photographs, magazine ads). Why are you drawn -- or not drawn to these poems? Are they a form like a sonnet or a pantoum that allows your work a place to begin and also offers a loose structure? I would love to hear your ideas on writing poems from art.
And as an interesting aside - Greek architecture students were required to write poems about the buildings they were studying. Through their poems they would gain an important understanding of the building's magnificence not captured in their sketching.