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Recap: OPA Ekphrastic Poetry Event at the Pendleton Art Center, Cincinnati

by Grace Curtis

  Terms like enchanting, engaging, and stimulating come to mind when thinking back on the final installment of the Ohio Poetry Association Ekphrastic 3-C poetry series that was held on Saturday, March 27 at the Pendleton Art Center (PAC) in Cincinnati and led by Cincinnati poet, Bucky Ignatius. The other two events took place at Columbus Museum of Art, January 18, 2014, led by Terry Hermsen and at Cleveland Museum of Art, October 11, 2014, led by Clarissa Jakobsons.

 Abandoned at Dungeness by Eileen McConkey

  The event at the Pendleton was unique in that rather than being held in a museum, it took place amid the studios of over 100 visual artists from the Cincinnati area who work and display their art there. In fact, the building itself, an abandoned shoe factory, issued forth its own creative energy with its original pine flooring, exposed ductwork, and cage elevators. Bucky gave attendees a brief history of the structure and the development that let to it being what it is today.

Four Figures by Ned Stern

  Many of the artists made a point to be on hand in their studios to talk with those who attended. Poets wandered throughout the six stories of studios finding works of art to which they were inspired to respond. It was like being a kid in a candy shop and having the candy makers on hand to tell you about the candy, or to simply tell you what it was like to be a candy maker. For over two hours twenty-five poets moved between studios, stopping to sit, contemplate, and write; or, to talk with artists.

 Artist Sue Cline working at her potter's wheel

  At 2:00 PM the poets convened on the third floor of the Pendleton to talk about their experiences and to share drafts of ekphrastic poems.

  "I write formal poetry, so it was a delight to visit Gail Morrison’s studio with traditional landscapes and still lifes that reminded me of those I viewed in museums in the Netherlands and prompted the beginnings of a sonnet," said poet Sharon Mooney. "I was drawn to her flowers and also her vineyards of Tuscany and am enjoying exploring her website."

Poet Robin Mullett shares the draft of a poem

Bucky Ignatius (left) and Chuck Salmons welcome the guests to the Pendleton Arts Center

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