Image: “Contradictions of Being” by Neena Sethia. “What It Is Is What It Is Not and What It Is Not Is What It Is” was written by Karan Kapoor for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, May 2021, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.
Comment from the Editor, Timothy Green: “In his note that came with the entry, Karan described this poem as ‘a string of aphorisms, though born from the same impulse as a poem. And in my head, all these aphorisms are waving a flag that is Neena’s painting.’ I can’t put it any better than that. The poem explores the central theme of the painting, but verbally, creating a deep dialogue between the two forms of art. Each line is memorable and surprising, and their accumulating mystery invites multiple readings—and further explorations of the painting.”