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The poet in the art gallery : accounting for ekphrasis

Kinloch, David (2010) The poet in the art gallery : accounting for ekphrasis. New Writing: The International Journal for the Theory and Practice of Creative Writing, 7 (1). pp. 19-29. ISSN 1479-0726

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This paper reports on the experience of composing a book of poems about visual art and on the ways in which this was affected by the institutional circumstances pertaining to its funding. Underpinning the AHRC's support for creative writing is the notion that creative writing should be conceived as a form of practice-led research. The case for support therefore stressed the ways in which the modes of writing about art would also form a subject for creative practice and critical reflection and the author offered both a critical preface and a critical article in this context. A project which involves ekphrasis, however, brings the relationship between the creative and critical components of the creative act into the sharpest possible focus and the author found himself engaged on a project which had the Academy's understanding of creative writing at its heart. This paper examines how the reading of an unusual critical text - itself a hybrid of critical prose and poetry - impacted the intellectual tensions at play among the poems being created, leading to paradoxical outcomes: the incorporation of critical prose into lyrically inflected prose-poems and a rejection of critical prose as a vehicle adequate to the documentation of practice-led creative processes.