In celebration of the long, intimate relationship between poetry and visual art, the MWPA and Portland Museum of Art proudly present ARTWORD 2019: Ekphrasis at the PMA.

We invite Maine writers of all styles of poetry and levels of experience to submit ekphrastic work inspired by art in the PMA. Authors of selected poems will read them at the museum on Friday, April 12, 2019 in an auditorium program. Selected poems may also be read in the galleries beside works on view that inspired them.

Ekphrastic poems respond to—address, confront, inhabit—works of visual art. From Rilke to Elizabeth Bishop to Janice R. Harrington and Tyehimba Jess, poets have engaged paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs in ways that illuminate what the eye may not detect in the original. When poem and artwork are in conversation, each shines in the other’s light.

Submission Guidelines

  • Poems should be based on work in the museum’s permanent collection or in any special exhibition mounted in the galleries between now and January 29.
  • Half-price admission to the museum is available for those who identify themselves at the desk as working on ARTWORD submissions. If you can’t get to the museum in person, please note that the entire PMA permanent collection is accessible online at
  • Submit up to three previously unpublished poems (no more than six pages total) as a single Word or PDF document via MWPA’s Submittable. 
    (*Submissions must be made via Submittable. If you do not have a Submittable account, you will be required to register, which is free and only requires your name and email.)
  • Below the title of each poem, please note the artist and title of the work that inspired the poem.
  • Your name and contact information should appear on every page of your submission. Be sure to note the artist and title of the work that inspired your poem(s).
  • Include a short biography with your cover letter.
  • Deadline  January 29, 2019


ARTWORD is sponsored by