By Laurelle Walsh
Seattle slam poet and teaching artist Daemond Arrindell returns to the Methow Valley for a two-day workshop in ekphrastic poetry on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 8 – 9) at Confluence Gallery and Art Center.
The workshop is appropriate for writers high school-aged and older, and qualifies for professional development hours for teachers. No previous writing experience is necessary.
The workshop will culminate in a public reading at 4 p.m. Sunday at the gallery.
The cost of the workshop is $65. Register at email@example.com or 997-2787.
Ekphrastic poetry is writing inspired by a piece of art — often visual — according to Arrindell, and participants in the workshop will be making use of the work currently hanging at the gallery in its current show “The Big Sleep.”
Poets through the ages used ekphrasis to vividly describe objects; the earliest example being Homer’s lyrical account of how the blacksmith god Hephaestus forged the famous shield of Achilles in The Illiad.
Modern poets have also made use of ekphrasis, often as a moving response to a work of art, such as Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and William Carlos Williams’ “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” after a painting by Brueghel.
Arrindell himself wrote an ekphrastic poem in response to the painting “The Shepherdess,” which hangs at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. In his poem, Arrindell speaks directly to the subject of the painting, a young girl who gazes out at the viewer, and asks, “Hey shepherdess, what’s your deal? Your eyes follow me around as if I am lost.” The full poem may be heard at soundcloud.com/fryeartmuseum/daemond-arrindell-on-the.
On Friday (Nov. 7), Arrindell will be visiting English classrooms at Liberty Bell High School, performing poetry, leading writing exercises and coaching students who are involved in the upcoming Poetry Out Loud competition. He will also give a poetry performance to fifth and sixth graders at Methow Valley Elementary.
Arrindell is a Seattle-based poet, performer and teaching artist with Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program. He has performed and facilitated workshops in high schools and colleges across the country, Freehold Theatre’s Engaged Theatre program, and has worked with homeless and incarcerated youth and adults. He is also producer and curator of Seattle Poetry Slam and coach of the Seattle National Slam Team. Arrindell came to Twisp for a performance at the Spartan Art Project last June.
For more information go to www.confluencegallery.com.