|A sundial from the cover of Antiphon|
When investigating new journals, I look for art work that catches my attention, a graphic design that doesn't skimp on form or function. Antiphon impressed me in these categories as well as in the choice of poems the editors selected.
Perhaps I shouldn't admit it, but I had no idea what antiphon meant when I found this international journal publishing out of England. Now antiphon is one of my favorite words! Traditionally, an antiphon is a chorus or response of the congregation to a piece of religious music. However, the journal, Antiphon, is not Christian based. A broader meaning of the word includes a call and response as in the case of art responding to art. I like to think of antiphon as a musical echo, a connection of one imaginative rendition speaking with another artistic piece. My poem, Abstract, responds to a painting by Irish artist Julie Aldridge. In poetry terms, it's ekphrastic: a poem responding to a piece of art.
How cool is that --- for a journal to create an international conversation (poets live in Denmark, England, Ireland, Finland, the United States) of art, of poetry in conversation? This online journal is in its second year, but I sense it will be around for a long time to come. At least, I hope so. Poetry has gone global! There are several journals that are working to let poets in the Netherlands, say, know the work of poets in Mexico or Sri Lanka.
This poem, Abstract, came about last summer while I was in Ireland teaching an ekphrastic workshop at Anam Cara, a lovely writing retreat in County Cork. The assignment I gave my students was to choose a piece of art in the residency that she couldn't understand, a piece of art that asked more questions then it answered. Isn't that where poems come from? More questions than answers...