{thanksfully 3.0 ♦ poetry goddess}


Ekphrasis is a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art. In poetry – where it is often utilized – ekphrasis is the poet waxing lyrical about a piece of art. In this, we waxed poetic about this amazing sculpture by Danish artist Susanne Ussing. Constructed of the mixed media of newspaper clippings, wood, and metal chimney vents, this large female figure looks like she’s… squashed, and covered in words and images not of her own making. Without discussion, seven female poets went basically the same direction with this… but then trimmed their sails to different winds.



before me
there is no I

in your glass house you
crouch alone,
casting stones
        (yet sought you to make me,
        proud, you seek to own —
        the whirlwind stirred as I sweep past,
        how dare you call me “known?”)


within me
I claim multitudes

a universe suffused with stars
sparks in all
dimensions, pulse with life
        while in your straitened house
        you stitch my shroud
        believing that where I am, there
        we both must stay


believe me
here, I am

glass rains down like hailstones
wood pops, metal shrieks and groan as
views shifts. Emerging, I force open your world
        before me, there shall be
        no others

This was a worthy challenge. Laura’s observations began literally and then exploded. Andi moved us in blank verse. Tricia started with association and headed toward organized. Sara’s growth spurt produced a mighty tongue, and a big voice. Kelly’s blew me out of the water – and through a glass ceiling. Liz had barely a moment to write this month, but arrived beautifully in her own time, just as in real life. Our lone poetry prince, J.C., will join in with his usual great imagery.

I’m grateful for today’s reminder to let everyone be the size that they are – including any goddesses you have stuffed in a box…

Artist Susanne Ussing (1940–1998) was a Danish visual artist and architect who worked in a variety of different mediums from photography and ceramics to large-scale installations and sensory exhibitions. The piece that introduced me to her is the 1980 installation titled I Drivhuset (In the Glasshouse) that was installed at the Ordrupgaard Museum in Copenhagen. Image courtesy of Carsten Hoff.

Poetry Friday is hosted today at Katya Czaja’s Write. Sketch. Repeat. blog.

7 Replies to “{thanksfully 3.0 ♦ poetry goddess}”

  1. Love this. Depending how you read it, there is one, or three, or six, or nine distinct poems. My favorite is “within me/I claim multitudes.” Amen.

  2. In your poem I see and feel things I should have the first time I looked at this image. That’s what I love about ekphrastic poems. They make we want to look again and again. I love that you’ve forced open the world of the reader. Like Liz, I am wowed by the titles and how they connect the pieces beautifully.

  3. Thanks so much for the background on the artist. Here I was, hoping she might see our response to her work, but…she cannot.

    As to your lovely poem, I said this before, but I’m intrigued most by the scriptural motif here, and how you play with it and explode it and “force our world open” with your words. Most excellent.

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