Selected Ekphrastic Poetry from the Colby Course “Visual Poetics”

In my Visual Poetics course this January, the students and I explored the intersection between poetry and visual art, including a unit on ekphrasis (a verbal representation of a visual representation). Using poems by John Keats, Frank O’Hara, and Cathy Song, among others, as models, the students wrote poems based on works of art on display at the Colby Museum of Art, after touring the collection. It was a wonderful opportunity for the class to translate colors and shapes into words, and breathe new life into these works.

Adam Giannelli, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of English

Tracy on the Raft at 7:30, Alex Katz by Libby Johnson ’23

Alex Katz, Tracy on the Raft at 7:30, 1982. Oil on on canvas, 120 1/8 in. x 72 in. (305.12 cm x 182.88 cm). Gift of the artist, 1995.039.


The Fish Tank of Women by Trisha Mukerjee ’21

Thomas Wilmer Dewing, The Song, 1891.
Oil on canvas, 26 1/2 in. x 34 in. (67.31 cm x 86.36 cm). The Lunder Collection, 2013.111.