Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2016: Artist’s Choice
Painting: “Castlerigg” by Catherine Edmunds. “Underneath a Car …” was written by Alexander James for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2016, and selected by Edmunds as the Artist’s Choice winner.
UNDERNEATH A CAR ON THE HIGHROAD BETWEEN ABERGAVENNY AND BLAENARVON
—Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2016
Artist’s Choice Winner
Comment from the artist, Catherine Edmunds, on her selection: “The best poems took my painting as a prompt and sprang off in unexpected directions rather than simply describing in words what I had painted anyway. I know what I painted! I wanted to find out where it took you, the poet. The top ten took me all over the place, both geographically and emotionally, and I despaired of picking just one entry to win, but after dozens of reads, one poem emerged as the one I most looked forward to re-reading each time, and that felt like a perfectly valid reason for declaring it the winner. This poem transports Castlerigg from Cumbria to Wales and plonks it down underneath a car; then tells a gloriously vivid tale of what happened—and does so in a tight, poetic form that transports me straight to that Welsh hillside, along with its straggly slack-eyed sheep. I can smell the rain in this poem. It had to win.” (website)