Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2018: Editor’s Choice
Image: “Message in a Bottle” by Jen Ninnis. “Dispatch from an Inland University” was written by Jen Jabaily-Blackburn for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2018, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.
DISPATCH FROM AN INLAND UNIVERSITY
—from Ekphrastic Challenge
May 2018, Editor’s Choice
Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “I fell in love with this poem after reading just the first three lines—the enjambment, the image, the rhythm, the rhyme. A poem doesn’t have to be quotable to be great, but what a great quote! And then I also loved the way the poem doubles-down on the painting’s despair—even a hopeless message in a bottle is a fantasy so far from the sea. The rest of the poem is intimately ambiguous in its self-dialogue, and feels like a real window into the speaker’s thoughts. Is the mood a over-indulgent melodrama, comically self-aware, or is it expressing a genuine melancholy? Either way, the poem reminds me of times when it’s all of that at once, before closing with another great stanza that lives up to the promise of the first.”