Archives for posts with tag: ekphrastic poetry

In recent years, there has been an upsurge of interest in ekphrastic poetry, which (according to the Poetry Foundation) is a “vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art.” Read more about ekphrasis at Aficionados of this form may wish to check out a recent Silver Birch Press publication — Dual Impressions by John Brantingham and Jeffrey Graessley.

All this is a buildup to our latest call for submissions: THAT LOOKS LIKE ME EKPHRASTIC POETRY SERIES. Find a portrait that looks like you (at any age) by a well-known artist and write a poem about the painting — put yourself into the story. Basically, the poem should be about the work of art and about you. (As regular followers of our series know, all our calls for submissions focus on personal narratives.)

PROMPT: Find a painting that looks like you — reality or wishful thinking, or a combination — by a well-known artist. Write an ekphrastic poem based on the painting — put yourself into the picture in some way. Find a painting by searching google images for “famous painting man” or “famous painting woman.” You may also wish to visit and browse through this visual art encyclopedia.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems during the Silver Birch Press THAT LOOKS LIKE ME EKPHRASTIC POETRY Series starting in November or December (actual date to be determined, based on number of submissions).

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem To as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write”LOOKS LIKE ME” in subject line of email. Please send a photo of yourself — at any age — in a separate jpg file to accompany the poem, and provide a caption for the photo (when, where). Send a jpg of the painting or a link to it. Please cite your source (title of painting, artist, year created). It would be ideal if you could find a photo of yourself that resembles the painting you choose — but this is not a requirement, as it may be difficult to match up the images in this way. Our intention is less literal and more impressionistic…


To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person (e.g., Erin O’Brien has been writing since age ten…”).

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem or creative process (this is optional).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. Send a photo of yourself at any age as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg).

7. Send a jpg of or link to the painting that inspired your poem — along with citation (title of painting, artist, and year created). You can include the link and citation in the MSWord under your poem.

8. Email to — and put LOOKS LIKE ME in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, November 15, 2015

IMAGES: “Self-Portrait” by Vincent van Gogh (1889); photo of Irish actor Michael Fassbender.

dual impressions cover front

Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce the August 18, 2015 release of Dual Impressions: Poetic Conversations About Art by John Brantingham and Jeffrey Graessley. The 138-page collection features ekphrastic poetry based on artwork by a range of artists, including: Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, El Greco, Edward Hopper, Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, René Magritte, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Amadeo Modligliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, and James Whistler.

Dual Impressions: Poetic Conversations About Art is a discussion between John Brantingham and Jeffrey Graessley about art and life in the form of over 90 poems that cover themes such as war, poverty, and social justice. The collection also includes an interview with the authors — where they explain the genesis for the project as well as their collaborative methods, and discuss their museum visits and art research — plus links to the artwork that served as inspiration for the poems.


John Brantingham author photo bw

John Brantingham is Writer-in-Residence at the dA Center for the Arts. He teaches composition and creative writing at Mt. San Antonio College and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. He has had hundreds of poems, short stories, and essays published in the United States and Europe in venues such as Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Tears in the Fence, The Journal, Confrontation, and Pearl Magazine. He is president of the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival, a nonprofit that brings poetry readings to the San Gabriel Valley. He writes in a number of styles and genres including literary fiction, crime fiction, and poetry. His books include Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods (literary short stories), The Green of Sunset (prose poems), Mann of War (crime novel), East of Los Angeles (a poetry collection), and The Gift of Form (an instruction guide for writing formal poetry).

jeffrey graessley1

Jeffrey Graessley spends his nights in the San Gabriel Valley. His recent work can be found in a variety of magazines, including The Idiom, New Myths Magazine, and Tears in the Fence. He is the author of the chapbooks Cabaret of Remembrance (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2014) and The Old Masters (Arroyo Seco Press, 2015). His recent discovery of the Beat generation has prompted loving and longing thoughts for that simple, drunken, far-gone time in American history.

Dual Impressions: Poetic Conversations About Art by John Brantingham and Jeffrey Graessley is available at

COVER: “Waiting” by Edgar Degas (1882).