In our first ArtSpace workshop in March 2023, poet and YWP alumna Rebecca Valley introduced us to the joys of ekphrastic poetry – writing influenced by art. Rebecca featured artists such as Vermont's Vaune Trachtman, whose spectral images sparked so much interest among workshop participants that we featured Trachtman in our monthly Great Artists challenge in April. YWP writer Geri was so inspired by Trachtman's "Home (2019)" that she wrote this poem at the workshop:
A House is Like a Human
Some are fancy and new. Some are modest and old.
Some have manicured hedges and large green lawns.
Some have overgrown bushes and small brown plots.
This house is neglected.
Tired of its guests loving it, then leaving, it decided to scare them away forever. It fogged up all the windows, let grime gather on the walls, and allowed twigs to tango down the drainpipe.
Every once in a while, it sees someone walk by.
Someone who lingers, gazes into its glass eyes,
and runs a soft hand down the molding.
A familiar ache stirs in the hearth.
But the house tightens its wooden spine,
makes the cracks a little wider,
the splinters sharper –
and that someone turns away.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP: In this online workshop, Rebecca Valley explored art as inspiration to dive deeper into our imaginations, giving participants a new way of looking at both art and writing, and sharing ideas and resources to take away, including some of her own ekphrastic work. Rebecca is a published writer and editor who was an active member of YWP when she was growing up in St. Albans, VT, from 2006-2012. She has published two poetry chapbooks and a true crime book for middle schoolers, Curious Cases: True Crime for Kids. She studied poetry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and currently lives in Durham, NC. She was the 2019 winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize at UMass Amherst, and the recipient of a writing residency scholarship for YWP alumni at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, in April 2019. You can find more of Rebecca's work on her website: www.rebeccavalley.com.
Special thanks to the Wolf Kahn Foundation whose support of YWP helps us present our workshops for young writers and artists.