Exploring Cultural Conflict through Poetry and Art

byAnne Marie Esposito

After completing this unit on ekphrastic poetry and art as part of their study of world literature, my students will have a deeper understanding of the literature we traditionally cover in class as well as a broader and richer knowledge of both poetry and art. Through their study of selected ekphrastic poems and the related artwork, my students will engage in a dialogue that compels them to read and reread, not only the poetic response but the "visual representation of a visual representation" too. Reading is key here and it cannot be quick and it cannot be literal. As they read they will see how art can be reinterpreted through verse and how that reinterpretation can add a new layer of meaning to what they see in a piece of art, challenging their original perceptions and possible prejudices. As they explore other cultures through the traditional literary works and the integrated poetry and art, they will gainer a richer understanding of these formerly unknown cultures. There is always more than what the eye first sees and it is the required revisiting that yields a richer result.

(Developed for English Honors/World Literature, grade 12; recommended for English Honors/World Literature, grades 12 and possibly 10)

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