Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2016: Editor’s Choice
Photograph: “Clay Hands” by Heshani Sothiraj Eddleston. “Throwback at Art Show” was written by Carol Kanter for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2016, and selected as the Editor’s Choice winner.
THROWBACK AT ART SHOW
Did these modern sculptors take a pledge
to flaunt here 3-D work that’s cutting edge
and spurn expected, classic forms sublime
as poets, at all costs, today spurn rhyme?
They aim to grab the public’s throat or heart;
but in their midst, on one small shelf
a dove gray bowl presents itself,
a throwback to the days when art was Art.
Slipped from modest earth and kneaded smooth
then spun and pulled a funnel shape, it soothes;
a dark tobacco glaze, precise and prim,
runs a lazy loop around its rim
and sends a web of taut stripes down inside,
connecting random dots as though
a spider moored her mites in rows
then tiptoed off to find some place to hide …
her center nest sits empty and unlined,
a blank plate its creator never signed;
it rode the fulcrum where this pot once twirled.
And should some cataclysm befall the world
this urn could sweet-talk drinker, viewer, bard,
to reconstruct its simple schema
(now passé as Ottava Rima)
when a newer age unearths it, shard by shard.
—Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2016
Editor’s Choice Winner
Comment from the editor, Timothy Green, on his selection:: “Sometimes I feel downright desperate for a little light verse, so when I come across a poem like this, that’s playful, clever, and rhymes, it’s hard to pass up. This poem is itself, of course, an ottava rima, a form I haven’t come across in ages. It took me to a completely unexpected place, unique among all the entries, and made me smile.”