Ekphrastic Poetry Contest Winners Selected

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The winners of the 2014 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest at the Toledo Museum of Art have been selected.

Winning writers will receive their awards and share their work during a ceremony at 7 p.m. May 16 in the Museum’s Great Gallery. A reception will follow at 8 p.m. in the Green Room.

Ekphrasis—literary writing about art—has been the theme of the Toledo Museum of Art’s poetry contest since its start in 2009. Entrants are asked to embark on a docent-led tour of the Museum’s collection, then submit a poem inspired by a work of art they have seen. Poetry is judged based on originality, form, language, grammatical skill and the creativity of the interpretation.

Judges reviewed approximately 300 entries to select winners in adult, high school and middle school categories. Among the judges on this year’s panel was Joel Lipman, professor emeritus in the department of English at the University of Toledo, who has taught ekphrastic writing at the Museum.

“The quality of entries this year, especially in the middle school category, was truly impressive,” Lipman said. “From the abstract works to the more literal, the talent the winners exemplified was exceptional.”

The winning poems will be posted online at toledomuseum.org starting May 17. This year’s winners, by category, are as follows:


First Place

Sandra Rivers-Gill of Toledo for her poem “Simplicity,” inspired by Varujan Boghosian’s Three Yellow Objects.

Second Place

Stephen Kapela of Athens, Ohio for his poem “First Day of Dancing Lessons,” inspired by Henri Matisse’s Dancer Resting.

Third Place

Spring Healy of Toledo for her poem “Noontide,” inspired by George Inness’ September Noon.

Honorable Mentions

Haley Hoffmeyer of Carleton, Michigan for her poem “Absence,” inspired by Joseph Stella’s Nocturne.

Mark Doss of Toledo for his poem “When Google Doesn’t Know The Answer,” inspired by Josepha Gasch-Muche’s Pyramid.

High School

First Place

Deborah Okeke of Sylvania for her poem “unspoken,” inspired by Sebastiano Ricci’s Christ and the Woman of Samara.

Second Place

Colin Leonard of Sylvania for his poem “The Aphasiac,” inspired by Lesley Dill’s A Mouthful of Words.

Third Place

Caleb Canales of Toledo for his poem “Trapped,” inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Avery Coonley Playhouse Window.

6–8th Grade

First Place

Gareth Francis of Ottawa Hills for his poem “Parade,” inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Avery Coonley Playhouse Window.

Second Place

Emily Rigby of Toledo for her poem “Unsettled,” inspired by Robert Longo’s Untitled Triptych.

Third Place

Claire Kohler of Sylvania for her poem “Layers of Death,” inspired by Fred Wilson’s Iago’s Mirror.

Maddy Vesoulis of Sylvania for her poem “Chin Up,” inspired by Yinka Shonibare’s Homeless Child 3.

Honorable Mentions

Lena Hodge of Toledo for her poem “A word is dead when it is said some say,” inspired by Lesley Dill’s A Mouthful of Words.

Emma O’Leary of Toledo for her poem “An Undeniable Presence of Nothing,” inspired by Anselm Kiefer’s Athanor.

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