Keywords: COVID-19 crisis; virus; cruise ships; poem; the sea; literature; quarantine; ethics
This paper discusses the value of ekphrastic poetry through focussing on one key issue that comes into debates about it: the concept of Time. The paper begins with a brief history and analysis of the links and contrasts between poetry and painting – from Horace and Simonides through Lessing and Kant to the modern period. In doing so it also recounts differing views in the philosophy of Time. Authors whose literary works are discussed include T. S. Eliot, Kenneth Slessor and Stephen Carroll, and the author also considers one of his own ekphrastic poems, whose starting point is a painting by the Italian, Giorgio Morandi. The paper argues for a pragmatic approach to the concept of Time and for a view of ekphrastic poetry as a conversation between poetry and painting, rather than an argument.