August 27, 2020

Ekphrastic Challenge, July 2020: Editor’s Choice

 

Alcohol ink drawing of two circles overlapping in greens and browns

Image: “Conflict Resolution” by Aurore Uwase Munyabera. “Circles” was written by Nikita Parik for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, July 2020, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]

__________

Nikita Parik

CIRCLES

On a page
a word
stirs.

Stirring stalks
flower
buds of May.

May showers
tease
our forlorn skies,

Skies that mate,
then split
to birth a language:

this language that is
shaped like
a yellow flower.

A yellow flower
crowns
my pretty heartache,

a heartache that weaves
sunsets
around a single word:

a single word
that stirs
on my lonely page.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
July 2020, Editor’s Choice

__________

Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “A note included with the submission explained that this form is called AnthAdi, a style long-used in Tamizh literature, in which the variation of the ending word of the first stanza becomes the first word of the next stanza. I’d never heard of this form before, and I love the way the short lines move gracefully down the page—it sings with quiet introspection. But what made me keep coming back was the mystery of what the ‘single word’ might be. Especially when combined with the visual art, Nikita’s poem manages to tell a whole story without ever telling the story.”

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August 20, 2020

Ekphrastic Challenge, July 2020: Artist’s Choice

 

Alcohol ink drawing of two circles overlapping in greens and browns

Image: “Conflict Resolution” by Aurore Uwase Munyabera. “Stepfather” was written by Anna Cianciolo for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, July 2020, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]

__________

Anna Cianciolo

STEPFATHER

Two rings.

The man who answers
your call
has a soft, Texan drawl.

Mom is out. He asks
how you are doing.

You think: Dad
must have had a
Midwestern accent, but
for forty-some years you failed
to notice, and now you can’t
remember
his voice, like Dad couldn’t
remember you
in the end.

The Texan man makes mom
coffee, and
they drink together,
on quiet mornings, before
church
or bowling
or packing lunches for the poor.
Once, in haste, they left

two rings

on the table. For their wedding,
you painted them
mugs—
one “Mr.” and one “Mrs.”

The Texan man knows you
and he both love
peanut butter, and (Mom,
if she would let him!)
he would give you the jar
and a spoon, and
you two
would eat it together, like kids
eating ice cream.

People say: Dad
would have wanted Mom
to be happy, probably
like the Texan man’s wife
would have wanted him
to be happy. But
those loved ones

have passed
on, and survival is the matter
at hand—gripping
what’s left of a life with
a hole in the middle, and
throwing it out

to each other,

two rings.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
July 2020, Artist’s Choice

__________

Comment from the artist, Aurore Uwase Munyabera: “It was so hard to pick just one of these poems, but ultimately the one that really stayed with me was ‘Stepfather.’ It truly embodies the theme and meaning of ‘Conflict Resolution.’ The poem lyrically tells a story of conflict with death and embracing a new member to the family and in the dialogue of getting to know and love the new situation, there’s conflict resolution, with two rings symbolizing individuality fusing into unity. This poem is brilliant and beautifully written. I’m humbled and truly honored that my painting inspired this work.”

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