An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a work of art. The first example of this powerful form of descriptive writing is found in Homer’s The Iliad, when the Shield of Achilles is rendered for us by the poet in such a manner that we cannot help but see and marvel at the handiwork of Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods.

Ekphrasis can also be be found in visual works that derive inspiration from works of literature, such as Rodin’s astonishing sculpture group The Gates of Hell, inspired by Dante’s Inferno. As far as The Match Factory is concerned, we have Kyoko Miyabe’s gorgeous ink drawings inspired by Celia Bland’s poem, “Bird Bone.”

 

BIRD BONE BY CELIA BLAND

The bird bone was bleached

white and light

as those plastic rings

binding six-packs of beer.

Holding the bone

she feels its pelvic

glide the

uplift of flight.

Where will she go?

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“The drawings were made with black ink on 8′ x10″ paper. The beginning of the project can be traced back to the IWT Workshop that Maryhelen Hendricks organized for faculty members in March of 2015. Celia led the workshop, and I was fascinated to learn that she had collaborated with a visual artist, so I spoke with her and asked her if she could take a look at my paintings. We then met up in May and she suggested that we collaborate. She gave me several poems that she was working on and told me to do anything I wanted with the text.

I was particularly intrigued by her “Bird Bone” poem and especially by the words “the pelvic glide.” I looked at various images of bird skeletons, and made my own visual interpretations based on those images.”

– Kyoko Miyabe

Kyoko Miyabe is an artist and a faculty member at SVA. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited in New York and Philadelphia. She is currently translating a book of Japanese tanka poems for an English edition. 

Celia Bland teaches poetry at Bard College, where she is the International Coordinator for the Institute of Writing and Thinking.  She is the author of Soft Box (CavanKerry), which won ForeWord magazine’s Silver Medal, and Madonna Comix (f8), a word & image collaboration with artist Dianne Kornberg.  She is the recipient of the 2015 Raynes Prize for Poetry.