New Book D.C. Ekphrastic: Crisis of Faith Speaks to 2020

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Provided by ATW

“It’s everything you don’t talk about at the dinner table,” says award-winning author and poet Katherine M. Gotthardt describing her new book D.C. Ekphrastic: Crisis of Faith. Featuring poetry based on black and white street photography by Ethan Meurlin, the book explores politics, religion and failed relationships. But perhaps even more so, it sums up the tumultuous year of 2020 which has left a flavor of “What’s next?” in the mouths of a questioning world. Released December 16, the collection is now available through Amazon and other online retailers.

Gotthardt says her poems were written as responses to Meurlin’s evocative shots of the D.C. metro area. Telling the imagined stories behind the photos – an ekphrastic approach that uses art as inspiration for writing – the poems include “Discussion Topic,” which took first place in the free verse category in Loudoun County Library Foundation’s 20D.C. Crisis of Faith book cover20 annual contest. Photography includes Meurlin’s work regularly featured by Capital Photography Center.

Many of the poems harness the literary power of persona, Gotthardt says. “That’s how the storytelling comes about – I put words in the mouths of the people who are experiencing the world Ethan has captured. And a lot of what they have to say echoes the sentiments of 2020 in response to the presidential election, social unrest, COVID-19 and overarching bigger questions for which there are few definitive answers.”

Meurlin says, “When you think about it, we are creating stories in our minds all the time, even when there is limited information. We study a piece of art or we see a person on the street and then develop our own stories about them. While I have a story in mind that I try to tell through my photos, I also try to leave enough space for the viewer to create their own. I’m both humbled and amazed by the stories Katherine has created using my photos.”

With eight other books to her name, Gotthardt was recognized as Inside Nova’s Best of Prince William author in 2019 and 2020, and she took home the outstanding poetry project prize from the Prince William County Arts Council’s Poet Laureate Circle this year.

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