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Hampshire Poet blog - June 2024

During his two year tenure, your new Hampshire Poet - Damian Kelly-Basher - will be writing a series of blog posts for us sharing what he has been up to, telling us his poetic plans for the future, and inviting you to get involved in poetry in Hampshire. Read on to find out what's happening in Damian's world!

An 1800s replica of Achilles Shield according to Homer’s description of it in The Iliad. This is an early example of poets writing about art/objects 2000+ years ago. (Image from Wikipedia)

In this blog, Damian discusses Using objects, activity or ideas as inspiration for poems:


Ekphrasis (from Ancient Greek meaning ‘description’) often refers to writing pieces that respond to or reflect upon a physical subject (e.g. a painting, a plate of food, a building), an action (playing a game, sleeping), or a concept (Science). 

Poets have been doing this for more than 2000 years. 


For Hampshire writers, local museums and galleries are great for getting inspired to write. They often have very different displays in the same building. For example, Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery in Basingstoke has ancient archaeology, Mediaeval history and 1920s photographic art 



I’ve chosen 3 great poems that respond to physical objects in very different ways. 

This Chilean poet wrote many poems in praise of everyday objects and ordinary places.

This Canadian poet writes movingly about changes to her own ageing body & female identity.

This Chinese poet brings mystery to everyday objects as she links them to absence & loss, and other artworks. 

Writing Exercise 

For this type of writing there aren’t really any rules.  

  • Choose an object, a place or an action. 

  • You can describe its physical presence (sound, touch, smell) or its history. 

  • You can tell a story connected with it or just write what it means to you. 

Damian Kelly-Basher is Hampshire Poet Laureate 2024-26. The appointment of the Hampshire Poet takes place every two years and is jointly led by Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust. The position of Hampshire Poet provides the opportunity for a Hampshire-based poet to undertake commissions, lead workshops and give readings and talks throughout the county, as well as acting as an advocate for poetry and poets.

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