A poetry class writing prompt led Grand Valley student Charlotte Wilmore, of Grandville, to win the top award in a regional poetry contest held by the Muskegon Museum of Art.
The MMA Art Talk Regional Ekphrastic Poetry Competition invited West Michigan writers to submit original poems based on any of 10 selected works of art from the museum’s permanent collection. “Ekphrasis” is the literary description of a visual work of art. The contest was open to all adult and college writers residing within the Michigan 231, 616 and 269 area codes.
Professor Patricia Clark, Grand Valley’s poet-in-residence, shared information about the competition with her class for one of their assignments, and then she encouraged them to submit their poems. Wilmore was awarded $100 and first place for her poem “Between Here and There,” inspired by Whitfield Lovell’s artwork “At Home and Abroad.” The contemporary mixed media piece, done with conte crayon on wood, depicts three African American men in World War I military uniforms.
“The reason I chose Lovell’s artwork is because it looked like it was painted on wood planks and I liked the difference of the background,” said Wilmore. “I wrote my poem “Between Here and There,” from the perspective of a parent looking at her children. I was responding to the title of the painting mostly, and also some of the things visible in the painting.”
The Grand Valley senior will graduate in June as a mathematics major, with two minors – engineering science and writing. She said this was the first time she has entered a poetry contest.
A reading of the winning poems was held during the awards ceremony April 25 at the museum. Grand Valley music performance majors Ashley Stanley, flute, and Adam Brennan, clarinet performed a duet at the event.
Art Talk was sponsored by the Muskegon Writer’s Center and the Poetry Society of Michigan. For more information about the competition, winners and art images, visit http://muskegonartmuseum.org/event-calendar/details/695.