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Humanities 2019, 8(2), 77;

Tamar Yoseloff as Ekphrasist, and Her Hidden Sweetheart: ‘I Took His Heart, Placed It/in an Ivory Case’

Department of English and Related Literature, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
This article is the expanded version of a conference paper presented at the Oxford English Graduate Conference, 1 June 2018.
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Sister Arts Since 1900: Poetry and the Visual Arts)
PDF [250 KB, uploaded 16 April 2019]


This article investigates Tamar Yoseloff’s different engagements with the visual arts in her ekphrastic poems by focusing on her first collection Sweetheart (1998). There are many critical studies about the poetic ekphrastic tradition, but there is rarely an in-depth investigation into a poet’s dedication to ekphrasis. This article suggests that Tamar Yoseloff’s dedication to ekphrasis is traceable to her earliest work. With a close analysis of three poems from Sweetheart—‘The Two Fridas’, ‘The Arnolfini Marriage’ and ‘The Visible Man’, I argue that the book is a sustained exploration of the autobiographical and biographical enigmas represented in visual artworks and artefacts, as well as our identification with these enigmas. It is hoped that this article could initiate a discussion about the tradition of poets dedicated to ekphrasis being as long as the tradition of modern ekphrasis.
Keywords: poetry; ekphrasis; visual arts; Wittgenstein; Freud; psychoanalysis poetry; ekphrasis; visual arts; Wittgenstein; Freud; psychoanalysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Huen, A. Tamar Yoseloff as Ekphrasist, and Her Hidden Sweetheart: ‘I Took His Heart, Placed It/in an Ivory Case’. Humanities 2019, 8, 77.

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