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How Poets See the WorldThe Art of Description in Contemporary Poetry$
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Willard Spiegelman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332926.001.0001

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“A Space for Boundless Revery”: Varities of Ekphrastic Experience

“A Space for Boundless Revery”: Varities of Ekphrastic Experience

(p.112) Five “A Space for Boundless Revery”: Varities of Ekphrastic Experience
How Poets See the World

Raymond Geuss

Oxford University Press

Ekphrasis is generally taken as a “verbal representation of visual representation.” The theory and practical criticism of ekphrasis have been expanded recently by the work of James Heffernan, John Hollander, W. J. T. Mitchell, Grant Scott, and others. Thus, this chapter is limited to three subgenres of ekphrasis that have been more or less scanted by these critics. First, Recoveries, a book-length dramatic monologue by Theodore Weiss whose speaker is a figure in a painting; second, Irving Feldman's title sequence from his 1986 collection All of Us Here, about a show of George Segal plaster-cast sculptures; and last, a sampling of the very few ekphrastic poems about Abstract Expressionist or nonrepresentational painting made by American poets in the past 50 years. In all three cases, visual art promises what Weiss calls “a space for boundless revery,” which has tempted all ekphrastic poets since Homer to dream of, through, or within the confines of a visible or imaginary material depiction.

Keywords:   ekphrasis, Recoveries, Theodore Weiss, Irving Feldman, All of Us Here, Abstract Expressionist, visual art

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