25th Trillium Award

Poetry Post: Canadian Poetries Interviews Sally Ito and Jennifer Still About Ekphrasis

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On Canadian Poetries, Winnipeg poets Sally Ito and Jennifer Still discuss the workshops they facilitated that dealt with the topic of ekphrasis — “the poetic act of responding to a work of visual art through words.” Sally and Jennifer’s first workshop was based on the gallery exhibit Reconfiguring Abstraction, which featured work by artists Derek Dunlop, Dil Hildebrand, Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline and Holger Kalberg. Jennifer later assisted in a second workshop, based on the exhibit What are you scared of?, which featured collaged works on paper, sculptures and wax reliefs by Winnipeg artist Bonnie Marin. The poets reflect on what they learned about ekphrasis through the workshops, revealing what they knew of this poetic act before the workshops and how they see their previous work as being ekphrastic in nature. They continue the interview by discussing their interpretations of abstract artwork and the differences between working from abstract versus representational artwork. Sally Ito, for example, explains that she found “the starting point,” in abstract art, “far less located than in the figured work,” therefore making it more challenging to create a poem from it. Her sense of abstract art is that it has a “direction” or a “movement,” and this was her approach when writing her poem. Read this insightful interview here.

The Poetry Post series is written and organized by Megan Philipp, Open Book: Ontario's Editorial Intern. Having completed the Publishing Certificate Program at Ryerson University, she is pursuing a career in publishing. She also writes and edits for The Mindful Word, an online magazine focused on mindfulness and engaged living.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Open Book: Ontario will be posting a Poetry Post each week day. Do you have a poetry-related link that you think we should know about? Please send it to [email protected].

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