2023 NPMSA EKPHRASTIC POETRY CONTEST The Briscoe Western Art Museum
We partnered with local poets and other art institutions to invite poets to draw inspiration from artworks. Writers will create a poem written in response to Jerry Jordan’s “Listen for the Drums” from our collection.
An ekphrastic poem is based on a piece of art, taking an existing piece of visual art and using written words to describe and expand on the theme of that work of art. Many of these poems explore hidden meanings or an underlying story. Each local art institution selected one work from their collection to feature in the 2023 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest for adult and youth poets.
2023 Poetry Adult Winners
Listen, Sisters, for the Drum! Vast the prairie, vast the mountains, Vast the spirit of her tribe. Dancing for the generations, Surging, swaying, all as one – “Listen, Sisters, for the drum!” Small, not fragile; young, yet strong. Like the feathers of the eagle, Taking flight at spirit’s call, Motion born in rhythmic hum – Drawn together by the drum!
Donna S. Richey
Sun Beats That day by all measures, like any other, Its length, its rhythms, its minutes and hours, Awakened by whispers and a sweet forehead kiss, This day would be special for what it’s filled with. The Earth told us now we will dance for the sun, My mother told me, just listen for drums. Wary of blunders to show what I’ve learned, Played out in my head, turn after turn. How will I know and when will they come? These sounds in the air, these fatherly drums, She touches my chest on top of my covers, You listen right here and not to another, The day was a dream, the harvest of summer, By the end of that day I was my own drummer.
Gilbert De La Rosa
Trail, Unending Not so wild, This abandon, But a rehearsed joy, Because underneath Brightly woven fabrics And intricate, studied steps, The drum beats In time With the heart. An echo. Unending longing For stolen lands… True home.
2023 Poetry Youth Winners
Manifesting of Destiny Peace With nature With ourselves With strangers Until they arrived Fierce and silent as winter’s first snow Light colored people with hair the color of straw Came without warning, without reason And stole Our homes Fear, fear ruled the day The chief declared Listen for the drums For they mean you are home.
Listening Drums a heartbeat of the soul I hear them, pulsing through my ears Following the tempo of our ancestors before us Ba-dum dum dum ba-dum More people joining, more colors everywhere We dance, and sing, and laugh The beat of the music vibrating through the ground Ba-dum dum dum Ba-dum Tempo rising, feet faster We end with a kick and say our goodbyes Listening for the drums again