Learning to Look: Exploring Ekphrasis

(with Margaryta Golovchenko)

May, 2021

Ekphrastic poetry begins with looking, taking in the formal elements of a work of art as well as its affects and sway on the viewer. An acknowledgement of the power of art, ekphrasis can celebrate and praise as well as point out shortcomings. It can dig below the skin of the work and ask questions, or it can glide across the surface before looking inward at the poet’s emotional state.

This workshop will explore the different facets of ekphrasis while also considering how to engage with the source(s) that inspires the genre. Session one will provide an informal art history class, focusing on how to look at art and some of the approaches that are used by art historians, such as formalism, iconography, and social art history. Session two will look at examples of different approaches to ekphrasis, from focusing on the artwork in question (its contents and effects) to expanding outwards and creating characters and narratives that treat the art as a starting point rather than the end goal.

Two-week workshop:

  • Saturday, May 1 (6:30pm–8pm EST/UTC-5)
  • Saturday, May 8 (6:30pm–8pm EST/UTC-5)

Required supplies: writing utensils of choice; a brief handout will be provided before the workshop begins

Suggested skill level: from beginners to experienced writers

Seats available: 15

Workshop fee: CAN$45

Margaryta Golovchenko (she/her) is a poet and critic from Tkaronto/Toronto, Treaty 13, and Williams Treaty territory and is currently completing her MA in the art history and curatorial studies department at York University. The author of two chapbooks, her poetry has appeared in deathcap, Menacing Hedge, Acta Victoriana, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. She has also written literary and art exhibition reviews for publications such as Canadian Art, Cornelia, PRISM International, and The Puritan.

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