The previous chapter ended with Jean-Luc Nancy’s reading of the image as ‘the activity of a form’ (Nancy 2005: 7). The work of Simon Armitage, James Fenton, Andrew Crozier and Adrian Clarke revealed the activity of the form of ekphrasis itself in parallel British poetry traditions. Just as earlier chapters showed the wide range of modifications that have been made to ekphrasis theory, so the work of those poets exemplifies the extent to which poets themselves have modified ekphrasis. As W. David Shaw wrote in an article about elegy, ‘the most authoritative critical histories’ of the genre are to a large extent ‘encoded […] in [its] own testing of conventions’ (Shaw 1994: 1, 16). The subtitle of Shaw’s article, ‘is historical and critical knowledge possible?’, speaks to a major interest of this book and to the remainder of this chapter. Any definition of ekphrasis starts to look limited and, in fact, historical because it is quickly exceeded by what poets are doing. In this chapter, I will examine examples of ekphrastic poetry by contemporary British poets which seem to me to be the best of their kind. Some of the theoretical perspectives outlined in earlier chapters will be brought to bear as appropriate, but it is certainly not my intention to use creative products to validate critical positions. I should also point out that I will not be covering ekphrastic poetry by British women poets in any detail. This will be the focus of the next two chapters, where I will argue that women poets’ testing of ekphrastic conventions amounts to, in Shaw’s terms, an authoritative critical history of its own which necessitates an entirely new critical approach.