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Ekphrastic poetry and poetics: A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight

Hadara Bar-Nadav, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The poems in my dissertation A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight reflect my continued effort to bring the arts into conversation. Largely ekphrastic, these poems respond to visual art. With a history that spans centuries and continents, the study of interdisciplinary poetry and poetics still is relevant today as seen in the recent upsurge in poetry collections informed by the arts, among them Mark Doty's School of the Arts (2005), Debora Greger's Western Art (2004), Barbara Guest's The Red Gaze (2005), and Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (2004). By inviting readers to experience works of art that exist beyond the page, ekphrastic poetry assumes that poetry is not a self-enclosed art. Moreover, ekphrasis productively complicates definitions and perceptions of poetry and art and promotes a consideration of the ways aesthetic ideologies are shared across disciplines. The poems in A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight enact a kind of visual-linguistic inquiry into the nature of metaphor, imagery, and even language itself; poetry becomes the means to explore the epistemology of language. In Twenty-First Century Modernism, Marjorie Perloff suggests Gertrude Stein and other poets understood "poetic composition is not a question of what but of how" (47). As a poet, I want to see how words capture and transmit experience. As a writer and painter, I emphatically believe this aesthetic and interpersonal exchange is possible. Through the writing of A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight, I count myself among those writers who are engaged with the simultaneously urgent need and playful desire to test the boundaries of language and converse in varied ways.

Subject Area

American literature|Language

Recommended Citation

Bar-Nadav, Hadara, "Ekphrastic poetry and poetics: A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3250371.