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Sun, Jul 10


Eureka Springs

What the Human Catches On: Reading and Writing Ekphrastic Poems from Snapshots

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What the Human Catches On: Reading and Writing Ekphrastic Poems from Snapshots
What the Human Catches On: Reading and Writing Ekphrastic Poems from Snapshots

Time & Location

Jul 10, 2022, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Eureka Springs, 515 Spring St, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, USA


About the event

Learn about ekphrasis and ekphrastic poetry through the lens of the snapshot at The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH). “What the Human Catches On: Reading and Writing Ekphrastic Poems from Snapshots,” is instructed by creative writing instructor and Ph.D. student, Emma Aylor. In contrast to the fine art photograph, this workshop will consider the “found” or vernacular photograph a site of energy, compression, and vitality. Participants will gain an expanded understanding of ekphrastic poetry, the interrelation of various artistic media, and the transformations that can occur when such media speak to one another. Participants will use this knowledge to produce a poem draft of their own. The workshop is Sunday, July 10th, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm CST at WCDH, 515 Spring Street in Eureka Springs. The class fee is $35 per person and all proceeds benefit the WCDH scholarship fund. 

The workshop will begin with an introduction to ekphrasis, defined as a verbal description of something visual, and the subgenre of ekphrastic poems about found and vernacular photographs. Together, the class will read and analyze several of these poems—including Carmen Giménez Smith’s “Photo of a Girl on a Beach,” Louise Glück’s “A Summer Garden,” Clarence Major’s “Photograph of a Gathering of People Waving,” Jasmine Khaliq’s “QFC in January,” Jana Prikryl’s “Anonymous” series, and more—to understand the various angles and effects of ekphrastic poetry about snapshots. In the second part of the workshop, participants will create ekphrastic poems of their own using guided questions and prompts. Participants are encouraged to bring a printed snapshot to write from, or they may choose from a collection of found photographs provided by the instructor. The workshop will conclude with an optional reading and celebration of the poems participants have drafted.

This workshop is appropriate for intermediate and advanced creative writers. Participants should have some sense of the basic mechanics of poetry, but they need not be primarily poets, as the techniques of ekphrastic poetry can also be helpful to those who write prose. Attendees should bring their preferred writing medium and are encouraged to bring a printed copy of a snapshot they’d like to write about.

Emma Aylor’s ekphrastic poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, AGNI, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, the Yale Review Online, and American Literary Review, among other journals. The winner of Shenandoah’s 2020 Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets and a finalist for Narrative’s Twelfth Annual Poetry Contest, she holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington–Seattle and is currently a Ph.D. student in poetry at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where she teaches literature and creative writing. She is in residence at WCDH, working on a manuscript of poems centered around art, ekphrasis, and seeing.  Her research interests include found photographs, portrait miniatures, pigments, and prehistoric art. Learn more about Aylor at

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to nurture writers of all genres, backgrounds, and levels of experience in a supportive environment that builds community, energizes creative expression, stimulates new thinking, and optimizes productivity. Since opening its doors to writers in 2000, the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow has made a lasting impact on the arts and literary communities hosting over 1,800 writers from 48 states and 13 countries. For more information, please call Michelle Hannon or Jeanne Glass at (479)253-7444.


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