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Friday, January 22, 2010

Such Whimsy!

A mid-week visit to the Seattle Art Museum has kept me giddy and upbeat/positive all week. I loved watching the old video footage of Calder happily conducting his wire-hanger miniature animal and people circus. Priceless. I also got a chance to examine one of Michelangelo's illustrated grocery lists:

"two rolls, a pitcher of wine, a herring; tortelli . . ."

Why, of course.

I took notes for what I hope will eventually be a couple ekphrasis (poems about art).

Buoyed all week by visual art and the spring-like weather.

And today a book I've been wanting to own since last August arrived in the mail: John Hollander's A Gazer's Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art. (It is out of print, very expensive, and very hard to find, but I finally tracked down a copy I could afford!) This is the book if you want to understand and write ekphrasis poetry. It's illustrated and contains a great many ekphrasis poems written over the last 500 years. I probably won't have time to read it till late March (between quarters), but I can skim it now, at least.

I picked up a pile of reserve books from the library, too -- can't wait to dip into Bernadette Mayer's Poetry State Forest! And I have out two books by Rae Armantrout, whom I feel drawn toward despite my inability to make any sense of most of her poems, though I appreciate their intelligence, unique voice, and beauty. I hope, with continued reading, a clearer path into her work will emerge.

So that's been my week . . . that and a lot of thinking/listening about Haiti.


seana said...

It's inspiring to hear you being inspired, Martha. Glad you were able to get ahold of the book.

David Graham said...

I've had my eye on that Mayer book for a while. I'd love a report, once you get to it...

Martha Silano said...

Hi David,

I've begun the Mayer book and it's great. I love how her poems have that jotted-off feel--so NOW and seemingly uncrafted. Their immediacy is very refreshing. I will post a few selections when i next blog. [I have to say I was grabbed by the title Poetry State Forest).