Big Read 2021 Poets & Painters Event


“Description” in Greek. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

The definition above is from the Poetry Foundation; it describes our invitation to writers to read, at our Zoom open mic on March 17, 2021, an original work inspired by one of the artworks submitted by central Illinois visual artists. The art works were displayed during the reading, and artists who attended contributed remarks about their works and artistic process.

A full-color printed catalogue of the artworks and the writings they inspired was published after the event. Each artist and writer who participated received one printed copy of the catalogue. PDF copies of the catalogue as a handout or booklet are available at the bottom of this page.

Springfield Poets and Writers (SPW) asked participating writers to email their intent to participate by midnight CST on March 7, 2021 to SPW's inbox,, using 2021 Big Read as the subject line.

  • Writers were allowed to select up to four artworks to write about.

  • Multiple writers were allowed to select the same artwork.

  • Writers' names are displayed with the artwork selected on the Big Read Art page.

  • By participating, writers and artists granted SPW permission to include their documents in the event catalogue.

    • View or download a PDF copy of the program (32 pages, one page per sheet) OR

    • View or download a PDF copy of the program (16 sheets, 4 pages each, double-sided) to print as a booklet.

  • View the video recording of the Poets & Painters event at our new YouTube channel!