Sunday, April 5, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise April 5, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

About today's writing prompt genre: Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.


Today's artwork is...

The poem "Brother of the Unknown Ancient Man" by James Tate (from his Selected Poems which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award). From poetryfoundation.org about James Tate for those unfamiliar with his work:  "James Tate’s poems have been described as tragic, comic, absurdist, nihilistic, hopeful, haunting, lonely, and surreal." I think that's a pretty good summary.

Brother of the Unknown Ancient Man

I think you are in love with more
than a story this is the story of
stories and what you have done with it

The food has been cooked the wine
has been chilled and the guest of
honor is at the bottom of the lake

He had a hunger for the flying
machine funny these white clouds
don't feel like toilet paper

Bony fingers of death heaven knows
when I'll be able to talk to anyone
like I'm talking to you know

I'm in a family way ninety-proof
fiction the party is next door
and that's the way it's always been

What manner of me are these
I hate airports too many airplanes
what could I ever do but love her

Brother of the unknown ancient man
he forsook all earthbound vanities
throw the dirt gently onto his grave.


**

Whether you're inspired by poem's form with jumbledness of some of the lines without punctuation where two ideas are mashed together on the same line, an individual image or phrase from the poem like "ninety-proof fiction" or perhaps a sequence (I really like the L4 through the first word of L8 as the seed for an interesting piece).

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