Ekphrastic Writing by Janée J. Baugher

Tuesday, March 03, 2020 12:19 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

After Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures

Start with a metal skeleton of what serves your pleasure: a house, a mug, a human figure. Then, take clay and obliterate the metal with it, rendering it inexhaustible of air and mind and any wayward form that disagrees with this surface. You may add mounds of clay or as little as possible. In this manner, you will sculpt Everyman, and how you depict him here people will remark on: Did you make him portly, disheveled, mute? Is he capable of doing anything? Have you captured motion, devolution, mutation? This figure remains lean. Scarcely clay beset the metal, the bones of which poke out of him—he with his elongated, attenuated, atrophied limbs. His head looks straight on, his features are cast in bronze, yet I cannot tell his eyes from nose. Does he feign movement of thought and promise—that solitude starves from ourselves? Merely alone, we are left in the skeleton of our daily skin, the way the bronze catches the light and absorbs it into itself—that color, that light that spreads around a room only hibernates there inside Giacometti’s thin figure. I imagine him falling off the edge.

Janée J. Baugher

Janée J. Baugher is the author of two ekphrastic poetry collections, The Body’s Physics and Coördinates of Yes. Her poetry and prose have been published in Tin House, The Writer’s Chronicle, Boulevard, NANO Fiction, Nimrod, and The Southern Review, among other places, and she teaches at Richard Hugo House. In autumn 2020, McFarland  is to publish her academic book, The Ekphrastic Writer: Creating Art-Influenced Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction.

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