Dr Patrick Wright has been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, and has a pamphlet, Nullaby, published by Eyewear (Lorgnette Series, 2017). Most recently his poems have been published in Agenda, The Reader, and Ink, Sweat and Tears. He teaches Arts and Humanities modules with The Open University, including Creative Writing.

Ekphrasis in Response to the Non-Figurative Image

Given that the majority of poems and criticism on the subject of ekphrasis have emerged with a figurative image in mind, I wish to discuss the composition of poems in response to images that are almost entirely without form. A late painting by J.M.W. Turner (Sunrise with Sea-monsters) will be presented as a case study, one looking at how contemporary poets – including my own practice – might engage with (near) formlessness, as is often represented in the seascape genre. Questions to be explored can be summarised thus: What occurs in the transposition of lacunal images into words? Is there an alchemy between seeing/mis-seeing and writing? How does such a dynamic go beyond representation? To advance on past work in this area I will also employ postmodern theory, which – like the non-figurative image, developments in modern art, and looking at more obscure art works – has been neglected in ekphrasis criticism thus far.