Wednesday, 14 August 2019

The Ekphrastic Review and Lorette C. Luzajic


Lorette C. Luzajic is a writer and mixed media artist from Toronto, Canada. She studied for a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Ryerson University, but always gravitated towards more creative pursuits, especially painting, art history and poetry. She has four independently published books of poetry: The Astronaut's WifeSolaceThe Lords of George Street, and Aspartame, and her poems have appeared widely in online and print publications like RattleThe FiddleheadGrainGeezPeacock JournalTaxicabKYSO FlashCultural WeeklyArt Ascent, and more. Her award-winning visual art has been collected and exhibited worldwide, including Mexico and Tunisia, and has appeared in galleries, museums, banks, hotels, laundromats, nightclubs, billboards, a luxury jewellery company ad campaign, and numerous literary journals and poetry book covers. In 2015, Lorette founded The Ekphrastic Review, an online journal devoted entirely to literature inspired by art.

Lorette C. Luzajic, Wonder Woman for President


About The Ekphrastic Review
By Lorette C. Luzajic

The Ekphrastic Review is a rare literary journal dedicated wholly to ekphrastic writing. "Ekphrastic" is a Greek word that simply means "to explain." Along the way, it came to mean writing that specifically described a work of art. In contemporary times, it usually means "writing inspired by art." 

It's a very old form of writing that Homer, Plato, and Socrates used or talked about. Ekphrastic poetry was essential to the Romantics and the most famous example is probably John Keats' "Ode to a Grecian Urn." William Carlos Williams, Rainer Maria Rilke, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Charles Simic are just a few famous poets known for their ekphrastic writing.

When I started the journal, it was really meant to be a hobby blog where I collected and shared interesting paintings and poems for my own enjoyment. My own artwork is often inspired by poetry or literature, and my most satisfying writing is about art, so ekphrasis was the natural intersection for me between my major life passions. I really didn't anticipate becoming an important archive of ekphrastic literature or having a devoted readership. The blog started as "Ekphrastic: writing on art, and art on writing." I posted paintings I liked that featured text or people reading, and occasionally shared a poem about art. But we began to attract an audience of serious writers rather quickly, and so I changed the name accordingly to denote the importance of the genre to its fans. We become The Ekphrastic Review.

I believe very strongly that contemplation and writing is the most important way we can approach art and art history. Whether we study only the surface of an artwork, or delve into its backstory and the artist's biography, our experience of art is enriched. It's an intimate process of learning to look at art, to find new ways in. The process of ekphrastic writing deepens a writer's own practice, too - we learn new ways of thinking, reflecting, and asking questions. Our imagination is fired in unexpected directions. Memories surface, connections form. We are led by curiosity into different worlds, different stories.

We have been blessed to feature over 800 writers from all over the world. (We keep an alphabetical list of writers for easy reference- interested readers can see it here). 

Until now, we have focused on ekphrastic writing, but as we continue to evolve we want to feature essays or articles that are about the craft of ekphrastic writing, ekphrastic book reviews, interviews with writers about ekphrases, and also translations of ekphrastic poetry from other languages. Submissions of these categories is especially encouraged moving forward. We also accept poetry, prose and fiction submissions that meet our ekphrastic guidelines. See: http://www.ekphrastic.net/submit.html

We are especially pleased to have recently formed a prize nomination committee, so that we will able to nominate our amazing writers for Best of the Net and Pushcart awards from now on. We are also going to have our own annual best Ekphrastic nominations.

Finally, we have biweekly prompts - look for our challenges every other Friday. The art varies widely in order to inspire a range of work.

Here is a poem from our archives, inspired by Gas, a painting by Edward Hopper (USA, 1940):



Gas, 1940

Pegasus, a faded red, about to fly off
into the sky, which stretches above the dark 
pines, the rural road running by, a river,
all curves and meanders. The white paint’s
flaked off the wooden shingles,
and the Drink Coca-Cola! sign is stained
with rust, but the light in the window
casts a yellow glow on the cement.

I think my parents are about to cruise up
in their Buick, a big gray boat of a car,
the one that was up on blocks during the war,
and they have no idea what darkness lies
up ahead. She’s happy, leaning back 
on the plush seat, the night air riffling 
her page boy; he leans his arm out the window,
the ash of his cigarette eddying to the ground.

The lone attendant fills their tank, checks the oil,
wipes both windshields until they gleam, then returns
to his metal chair, his solitary vigil, keeper 
of the lighthouse, pilot of the night.


Barbara Crooker

This poem was previously published in Barbara Crooker's book, More (C&R Press, 2010). 


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