One Book One New Orleans Ekphrastic Poetry with Skye Jackson

On Sunday, March 24, 2024 Ogden Museum of Southern Art hosted One Book One New Orleans for an Ekphrastic Poetry workshop with Skye Jackson.

Skye guided the workshop through the basics of ekphrastic poetry. Afterward, participants had the opportunity to explore the Museum’s collection to find a piece that spoke to them and write a poem on it. The workshop, which is available on One Book One New Orlean’s YouTube channel, culminated in participants sharing their new works.

Clementine Hunter, Flowing River, c. 1950, Oil on panel, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James Michael Fortino]

Whispers of the River – By Carl Harrison Jr. 

Beneath the brush of Clementine’s hand,
“Flowing River” unveils a sacred land.
Where waters dance and stories flow,
In hues of warmth and gentle glow.

With every stroke, a whispering tale,
Of strength and struggle, of heart’s travail.
Through cotton fields and cypress trees,
A timeless journey, in vibrant seas.

So let us linger by the river’s edge,
Where dreams take flight and doubts may hedge.
For in Clementine’s art, we find,
A mirror of the soul, forever entwined.





Michael J. Deas, Edgar Allan Poe, 2012, Oil on paper laid on panel, 22 x 17.5 inches, Gift of Roger Houston Ogden and Michael Wilkinson

They All Look Alike – By Freda K.Leonard

I saw your face thought
I knew you.You seem to
think you remembered me.

As I got closer. I chuckled
They all look alike.Thought
you were a familiar Mark Twain
turns out you were never more
than Edger Alan Poe

They all look alike.

I saw you in black & white
but color wouldn’t have changed
a thing. They all look alike.

The secret of getting ahead
Is getting started if all that
We see is but a dream within a dream.

They all look alike.

It’s a perfect likeness of you
Even though I thought that
you were someone else

They all just look alike.

Sharon Kopriva, Resurrection, 2008, Wood, fabric and found objects

[Unsure Casting]_ – by JP Bartley

Cast my net,
To an empty catch,
Cast again to know for sure,
The other side, I cast unsure,
In the middle, at the bottom,
To cast unsure,
Will it be as I’d hoped, Or,
Back to harbor, no catch,
Isn’t every cast unsure?
Who watches over?
Impatient, with a muddy catch,
I tip over,
Find me faithful,
Half a catch, all wet,
To harbor with a storm in view,
To the table having risen from the waters,
As muddy as the catch.

Shawne Major, Eating Cake (detail), 2008, Mixed media, Gift of the Artist

[Queenless iii]_ by JP Bartley

Queen-less ants we are,
Your invitation appreciated,
One bite at a time,
We go marching, Initiative sourced,
Deep internal,
Our freedom is so bound in dutiful service,
Our revolution is so undermined,
Goes unnoticed,
A hill today, a mountain tomorrow,
No one cares until they see,
One bite at a time
Now you see, Tomorrow you’ll wonder,
Why I wander, where I wander,
My freedom is so bound in disciplined effort,
My revolution so unseen,
Goes on and on,
Queen-less ant that, I am,
Pomp and circumstance, refused,
A sword, a plow, dig, build,
Words twisted, I say, boldly, badly,
Queen-less ant that I am.

Sherry Owens, Mother Nature Throwing Up Her Hands , 2017, Crepe Myrtle, bailing wire, paint, dye and wax, 76 x 40 x 34 inches, Courtesy of Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Gift of the Roger Houston Ogden Collection, 2018.12.1

Overlooked – By Tracie King

I beat
I am a heart
Standing or taken apart
I give you life
I let you breath
Either sitting within my leaves
Breathing me in
Or resting your feet
On my sanded and stained skin
In your den
Where you no longer
Think of me
As the tree
That beats
That gives you life



Stephen Dee Edwards, Tilt, 2002, Cast glass and steel, 70.25 x 40.25 x 19 inches, Gift of Sonia and Isaac Luski, 2003.54.11

Red By Tracie King

The brightest color brings the darkest day.
Maybe if I don’t tilt
Maybe it will stay
Maybe if I don’t tilt
Maybe if I pray
Oh God, I don’t know what to say
It’s gone,
It’s gone away
Red down my leg
The brightest color brings the darkest day.

Scared Dragon Rocking Horse

Shawne Major, Scared Dragon Rocking Horse, Mixed media, Gift of the artist

I am a work of art by Latoya Taylor

I am a work of art. Made up of all the left over pieces of my life. The memories that will soon fade away.
I am a work of art. The lover of platinum hits that made us all shake our hips and dance to the beat. The songs that got me through troubled times.
I am a work of art. The twinkling lights from the rings and bracelets I’ve worn over the years that shine with each move I make. The ones that made you look.
I am a work of art. A collection of memories unique to me that will never be experienced by anyone else. Even the memories you say aren’t true.
I am a work of art. Up close you may not see my beauty. But if you view me as a whole, you can’t look away. Then you’ll come close again to study all the parts of me you missed.
I am a work of art. Many parts of me have faded but the dullness helps other parts of me shine. You can’t see the light if there’s too much darkness.
I am a work of art. Fashioned in such a way that my legacy will bring joy to those than see beyond the tarnished parts. If only you could see me.
I am a work of art. I am a work of art. I am a work of art.

William de Leftwich Dodge, Untitled (Boy with Pumpkin), c. 1928, Oil on canvas, Roger Houston Ogden Collection

After “Untitled; Boy With Pumpkin” – By Skye Jackson

It is fall here, now. & mostly, it is fall here, always.
the gourd in my hands as full & round as my cheeks.
today, i decided to stop running. i stood under the leaves
blowing all around me like a breath & for once, i tasted
what it meant to be awake & alive; like how the poets
say. i will take this pumpkin home with me;
carve it out hollow & fill it
with light. i will fill it with my own light.





After “Young Life” – By Skye Jackson

Bo Bartlett, Young Life, 1994, Oil on linen with deer hair and found objects, Collection of Micheal Wilkinson

nothing smacks quite of the american dream
like a dead deer
slid decadent atop the roof of a car; kill
is what we came here for:
you & i out front; i wield my shotgun
like a scepter into the sky, proud
of what i’ve done;
and you – you hold me like
you’ll never hold me again
though i am planted here.

you press the white of my shirt
as cool, clean & distant as God
& yes, this is the american dream
& yes & yes & yes

there is something modern about us –
looks like we might pull our phones
out of our pockets at any moment;
looks like an instagram photo
that we are damn proud of.

& yet
the boy stands there:
sweatshirt as red as a curse,
holding a stick in his hand –
like a figure from a tarot card,
knowing, sure & constant
in the role
he’s decided to play.

Landscape and Variable: Bounty and Burden of History

William Dunlap, Landscape and Variable: Bounty and Burden of History

After “Landscape and Variable: Bounty and Burden of History” – By Skye Jackson

there is always watermelon to eat here,
always a dog, underfoot, pawing
at something we cannot bear to see—
monticello, on the horizon, decadent
& pretty in all of its secrets; it dances
rejoicing in its brilliant tapestry of sins
as the rest of us mourn



Benny Andrews, Mother Death, 1992, Oil and collage, Gift of the Benny Andrews Foundation

After “Mother Death” – By Skye Jackson

mother death, tell me this:
what do you grow deep
in the heart of your garden?
poppies planted like tears?
bitter blackberries
dark as turned wine?

you used to be sweet, mother death,
whispering your secrets
only to the beloved
who listened but never once believed.

i see you more than i’d like to admit now;
like all mothers, you tend to your children,
never once seeing them
for who they really are.
& that is fine, mother death,
even you, like the rest of us
are entitled to your own delusions—
it’s clear,
even you
can make sweet
& terrible things

Bo Bartlett, Young Life, 1994, Oil on linen with deer hair and found objects, Collection of Micheal Wilkinson

“Thank God For Broken Promises” – By Joshua Miguel Benitez

The White family stands romanticized
Their [censored] cousin work in a fury
To capture their triumph
A deer, dead on the roof of the truck
Limp tail dangles
They never did take me hunting

The husband looms stoically. His hat
Casts shadows over his eyes
We have the same tired eyes –
“Did you get a good angle of my gun?”
he asks. He stands with his wife
who liked to pinch my ears
Behind them is “their truck”
The one I was promised

The family stood on “Their Land”
Forest wiped clean,
only dandelion seeds remained
They never camped again
At least
not with me

Their Son looks at me
I feel his intensity
He holds my old Walking Stick
The one used to crack my cousin on the head
When we were young
He’s doing fine

I note to myself

His wife caresses his belly
I remember
I never did get that gun