Ekphrastic Poem in Response to Heat Wave by Kadir Nelson [Morning Edition’s Poetry Challenge]

A librarian friend of mine knows how much I appreciate Kwame Alexander and his work so he shared a recent podcast with me where Kwame is the poet in residence. It’s the Morning Edition, hosted by Rachel Martin on NPR and on March 11th, the two challenged listeners to write ekphrastic poems in response to art by Kadir Nelson (Heat Wave) and Salvador Dali (Young Woman at a Window). I decided to go with Kadir’s beautiful piece. I wrote 3 different free-verse poems to represent 3 different points of view. My 15-year-old is homebound with me too as our schools are closed and she said I wrote it like an elementary teacher would…Well, I am an elementary educator after all. I challenged her to write one of her own so maybe I’ll get her to share hers with us later.


Heat Wave_Kadir Nelson
Heat Wave – Kadir Nelson



Basking in my Shine

These triple digits out here trying to phase me

but here I stand at my window, unmoved.

Delighting in this moment as I capture this impossible breeze

Still, those rays beat down on me but I don’t sweat,

I shine.


It’s Definitely My Popsicle

What once was hers is now mine

and on this hot summer day, I’m feeling just fine.


The Drought is Real

Here I am, downright dull and dang on near dead.

She’s over there holding onto that glass of water

when she should be pouring it over me instead.

If you are interested in trying this challenge, give Morning Edition  a listen for the details.

Ekphrasis: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art.

“ekphrasis,” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ekphrasis. Accessed 3/16/2020.




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