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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ekphrasis



or How I Started to Get Interested in Trying to Write Poems about Visual Art:

(1) I won a one-year membership to Seattle Art Museum at my daughter's pre-school auction;

(2) I spent a morning with Seattle visual artist David George talking about the two of us collaborating on book of poems about his pictures. 

(3) Barbara Crooker and Mary Jo Salter's fine ekphrasis poems, plus the ones I've been reading at the poets.org:


(4) I started feeling like I needed more art in my life again; I grew up outside NYC and used to play hooky from school and hop on the train to Manhattan so I could wander all day through the Whitney, the Guggenheim, or the Met, or MOMA. It was the days of the old MOMA. 1978. I could sit quietly in front of Guernica or one of Cornell's boxes for half an hour and hardly anyone would pass by. I used my babysitting money for train fare; because the sign at the Met said "pay what you wish," I often handed the disparaging cashier a nickel; otherwise, I visited on free admission days. I'd eat my sack lunch in the cafeteria. 

So here's my first attempt at an Ekphrasis poem. I started it in May and have been revising it since, but I doubt it's done. I will post it for a week or so, then remove it. Oh, and if I could figure out how to do it, I would move the photo of "Untitled" down here where the poem is. 

The Man

After Richard Prince’s “Untitled (four single men with interchangeable backgrounds looking to the right) [deleted 8-14-09]



4 comments:

Kells said...

Wonderful post, Marty!

I loved this--

used my babysitting money for train fare; because the sign at the Met said "pay what you wish," I often handed the disparaging cashier a nickel;

Joannie said...

I love the poem! Thanks.

I remember one rare occasion when I got to see Guenrica at MOMA; I had no idea at the time how rare it was.

My other memory from that trip was Monet's waterlilies, in a room of their own.

I've also been on an ekprhasis streak, and I appreciate the company.

seana said...

This sounds like a great plan. I like how the poem extended my quick magazine reader's glance over the picture into something deeper and more focussed.

Martha Silano said...

Thanks, yawl. I am hoping to continue down my the ekphrasis path for a good little while . . .

Joannie: I remember that room with only Monet's waterlilies in it. I am dating myself . . . but I am so nostalgic for that little tiny art museum on 53rd and 5th.