Learn about ekphrastic poetry and use our free printable worksheet to write an ekphrastic poem of your own!

What is an Ekphrastic Poem?

An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by a work of art. Ekphrastic poems help give words to the feelings inspired by works of art and can amplify the meaning of the artwork. The poem can tell the story of the scene in a painting, express the feelings of the poet as he or she looks at a piece of art, or evencontain an imagined dialogue between subjects in the artwork or between the artist and his or her creation.

Here’s an example of the poem Two Monkeys by Brueghel, inspired by the painting of the same name.

Two Monkeys by Brueghel, an ekphrastic poem by Wislawa Szymborska

How to Write an Ekphrastic Poem:

  1. Find a painting or sculpture that interests you. You can view the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tate online.
  2. As you look at the artwork, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Take notes about any sensory impressions it gives you or memories it triggers.
  3. Ideas for writing your poem:
  • Write about the scene you see in the artwork.
  • Think about what the subjects did after the painting. Did they move from that spot? Where did they go?
  • Write a conversation between the characters in the piece.
  • Write about your experience of looking at the artwork.
  • Write as a character in the artwork speaking to the viewer.
  • Compare the artwork to something else.
  • Imagine a story about the creation of the artwork, or write in the voice of the artist.

4. Ready to write your own ekphrastic poem? Use our printable to help guide you through the process of creating your own masterpiece!

Click here to download and print your own copy of the Put This in Your Brain ekphrastic poem printable!

Write an ekphrastic poem printable worksheet

We’d love to see your poems! Send your completed poem to us or post it in the comments to the ekphrastic poetry post on our Facebook page and we’ll feature them on our website.

Happy writing!

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