Saturday, May 2, 2020

émilie kneifel : ekphrasis

my favourite writing stills scenes, plasticine, to establish texture a leaf balming the space between fingers, everything that looks like a pearl

before it thaws and peels away into the mind’s secret life.


ekphrasis: art writing, often of a painted scene. a gaze that blonds pigment, anthropomorphizes, drifts. elaborates or just digresses because conclusion doesn’t always leave room to beat-between the way juxtaposition can. 


i have called my criticism a hope to “capture what it feels like,” “pursuit of the ‘yes! exactly,’” a yell into dark to hear the dimpled shape.


what is the word for finding out there is one? 


and why does it matter for a way of looking to zip into a self-contained jumble of syllables?


because a word introduces its own ideal, some solid knot at a distance. direction.


plus, out of words, worlds.


because although i love criticism’s easy fix,
although i know this is my stretch,

ekphrasis is the way i feel around everything.


memories thick as paint, as prone to oxidation.

- - -

the day after the word, i paint a self-portrait. cheetah print sundapple.

i look at myself, don’t; look like myself, don’t. lose myself, find, find my brother, both. stroke, stroke. a guessing toward recognition.


in the original portrait, my eyes smudge beyond fatigue, so i paint them shut. allow relief.

a mimicry of ekphrasis’ ultimate teleology,
which is a rendering beyond duplication.

the space between fingers, a pearl.

i learned about ekphrasis from Luther Hughes’ september 2019 frontier poetry column, where he discusses its power to assert and redefine what is considered art. i frantically tweeted my thanks, which will never be enough.

émilie kneifel is a sick fish, goo fish, they fish, blue fish (critic, poet, and co-creator of playd8s, a show for you if you need it). find 'em at, @emiliekneifel, and in Tiohtiáke, hopping and hoping.

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