Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ekphrastic Human Rights Poetry

According to Google, an ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

We just started a unit on Chris Crowe's nonfiction book, Getting Away With Murder. I passed around iconic visuals from the 1950s and 60s pertaining to civil rights and had the students create ekphrastic poetry about them. The students had some really good ones. Here are two I created for them -- not my best work as it was on the fly -- but okay.



They look like anyone's child --
clean cut, well dressed.

But the smiles on their faces
belie the words on their signs
and the hateful look in their eyes.

Strike. Won't. Don't.

Negro.

Hate is even worse when it
masquerades as morality and
moonlights as tradition.


I knew music and color went together –

soulful blues, breezy greens, melodic mauves,
red hot notes and moody purples
mixing and mingling in harmony.

Now they tell me music only comes in
black or white –

but I still hear

the rainbow.

1 comment:

Allison Sirovy said...

Love this idea and am going to use with my 8th graders!