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  • Kourtni Tucker

How Ekphrastic Poetry Can Help You As A Writer

What is ekphrasis in the world of poetry?

Ekphrastic poetry is, simply put, poetry that has been inspired by or directly discusses other literature.

However, our definition of literature here is far from limited to books. Did you know that the writing in television series, movies, games, visual novels, news articles, social media posts, and essentially all other forms of content involving written or spoken word also constitute as literature? It’s interesting, because we wouldn’t normally think of it that way. But it is true!

How can ekphrastic writing help me personally or as an author?

  • For starters, it can help you refine and hone your literary analysis skills. In writing about your favorite media, it forces you to engage more critically with the characters, themes, and events in the medium. This will help you look more critically at literature as a whole, and can greatly improve what you take away or learn from others’ writing.

  • On that note, ekphrastic writing can actually expose you to new communities of people with common interests!

  • It can also help serve as inspiration when you have none and get you back into writing when you’re rusty or otherwise not feeling it.

  • It can aid in self-discovery and help you find new facets of who you are through your relation to a piece’s characters and story. In turn, you’ll feel more connected to both the medium and the author as a fellow human.

  • It can serve as catharsis and help you feel more safe discussing topics you otherwise wouldn’t if a character shares similar experiences with you.

  • On that note, the biggest thing ekphrastic writing helps with is giving you perspective. Say you’re writing about a character who doesn’t really align with you. This, in a way, forces you to see the world in new ways and safely play around with other viewpoints.

  • That new perspective will help build empathy, which is an extremely crucial and worthwhile skill to have as a human and author.

In Conclusion

Whenever I share my pieces that fall under this category, I have people tell me they never thought to do such a thing. This is just one person’s way of explaining why it helps them and the value they see in it. I heavily encourage you to pursue it, as you may find completely different reasons to add to this list! Have fun with the media you already enjoy. Or, as a challenge, try writing about a series you dislike. It may help you appreciate that series more. Until next time!

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