Ekphrasis: Using Art to Inspire Poetry

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Lesson Introduction: 

In this lesson, students explore ekphrasis—writing inspired by art. Students begin by reading and discussing several poems inspired by works of art. Through the discussion, students learn ways in which poets can approach a piece of artwork (for instance, writing about the scene being depicted in the artwork, writing in the voice of the person depicted in the artwork, speaking to the artist or subject of the painting, etc.). Students then search online for pieces of art that inspire them and, in turn, compose a booklet of poems about the pieces they have chosen.

Learning Objectives: 

In this lessaon, students will have opportunities to:

  • Read and analyze poems inspired by art.
  • Discuss the methods poets use to write about artwork.
  • Use Internet searching techniques to find several inspiring art pieces.
  • Compose poems inspired by the artwork of their choosing.
Materials and Resources: 

To teach this lesson, you will need:


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Poetry In Voice is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation. All of our resources are available online for free. You may also use our resources if you reside outside of Canada.