Raise Your Gaze — an Ekphrastic Definito [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.) Well, it’s the first Friday of the month, so of course I’m sharing a poem written in concert with my Poetry Sisters. This month, we wrote ekphrastic poems inspired by several pictures Sarah took in Israel.

I was running very late and hadn’t even started my poem by Monday of this week. Ack! Then I got an email from today’s Poetry Friday Roundup host, the awesome educator and poet Heidi Mordhorst. HER group is posting definitos this week (see her post for an explanation of that form), and since I had played along with her definito challenge years ago, she asked if I’d want to write one, and could she share my old one (of course)!

So, I blended the two together and wrote an ekphrastic definito. Here’s the poem, and you can scroll down to see the drafts below, if you’re interested.

As always, I love seeing the variety of poems we came up with. I hope you’ll go check theirs out!

Click here to see all our previous Poetry Princesses collaborations.

And don’t forget to visit Heidi for the Poetry Friday Roundup!

30 Responses

  1. Combining two challenges for the win! What a great ekphradefinito 🙂 I love “your porthole to clouds!” Gets the point across with some trademark LPS whimsy!

    1. Thanks, Molly! I have to purposely find the whimsy. It doesn’t come naturally, so I’m always happy when it hits the mark:>)

  2. “ekphrastic definito” has an exotic ring, but you managed to make this poem concrete, detailed, and lovely. I adore this take on oculus, which is a fabulous word to define. And “porthole to the clouds” makes me happy—enough to rise out of my chair and look UP, UP UP.

    1. Thanks, Sara! That phrase, which only crept in in that last draft, is definitely the winner of the poem:>)

  3. Woo hoo! Taking on two poetic challenges with one poem. The photo and poem combo gives a perfect introduction to oculus!

  4. What an intriguing image to work from. Your poem matches it perfectly. I love the idea of having a “view of the whole world overhead/your porthole to clouds.” We’d all be better off is we spent more time looking at clouds!

    1. I love that in my office, the blinds open either direction. I spend a lot of time writing with a view of sky/clouds up and to my right:>)

  5. I’m so glad you were able to join the definito challenge. I so love learning new words and this one, oculus, is one I think I could figure out knowing the root ocu means eye, right? But combined with the image, it’s all so much richer. I love the o‑words you chose, overturned, opening, overhead.

    1. Thanks for noticing, Margaret. I did try to make some thoughtful word choices, even though I was kind of racing through these drafts.

  6. Beautiful poem and it fits the image so perfectly. It’s beautiful and intriguing, building toward the final word that in itself is so lovely. Oculus! I need to put that into my conversations this week. LOL I love how you combined these challenges for the win! It’s such a clever form and so fun to read. We definitely have to try it together sometime soon.

  7. It’s special to combine the challenges, Laura, & I love the idea of “porthole to clouds”.

  8. You’re always so good at remembering to track the HOW of your poetry — that always intrigues and fascinates me, because our minds don’t work the same way. Also, there just aren’t poems that use the word ‘oculus’ all that often!!! This is like a perfectly rigged sailing ship — all lovely, trim lines and speed.

    1. I’m usually terrible at it. It’s only when I (rarely) do poems in longhand that I think, “Oh, I could just snap some pics of these pages!” I agree, though, about seeing other people’s process. It’s fascinating how differently we go about this effort. And thanks for the kind words…I love the sailing ship comparison:>)

  9. Perfect perfect perfect. Sometimes it’s good to sow two seeds with one throw, and this is clearly one of those times! Thanks for playing along, Laura.

  10. As always, I am SUCH a fan of your drafts and process! Thanks for this…

  11. Fun to see your drafts as you worked this poem Laura. And I’ll always think of “Oculus” when I see a porthole window somewhere, thanks!

  12. You are a master creative problem solver, Laura! Such a fabulous word to define, and “porthole to the clouds” is brilliant.

  13. I love this poem and this form. I’m not sure how I missed it before. I also love that you share your process. Like you, I do a lot of scratching on paper.

    1. Thanks, Tricia–I prefer writing on my laptop or portable keyboard. But when running late, paper is preferable to my phone, at least :>)

  14. What a great photo to build a poem with and then to showcase a special word. Thanks for adding your longhand draft too, Laura.

  15. Laura, I like the way you wove your definito poem that paired so well with the image. Thanks for sharing your draft in longhand.

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