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  #11  
Unread 04-27-2022, 12:30 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Thanks, Sarah-Jane, for taking on the Art board.

Normally, with your Ekphrastic101 ekphrastic poem you start with an obect or a scene, and write a poem about or around it. I'm doing this the other way around, and having trouble. The poem is below. It's an oldie from my first book that I always liked, and always thought of as "ekphrastic", although there was no specific painting or object I had in mind - but I always thought it was calling for one. But I'm a writer, not a painter. The poem is below, and below that are links to a few paintings I found in my wanderings (through the internet, not through Europe). Each relate to the poem in some way, but none perfectly. Whaddya think?

The Man Who Painted Women

We watched you as you limned a woman’s face
and body – got it right – the half-held breath,
the promise seen implicit in the eyes,
the tension of the shadows on her flesh,
and yet you seemed unpleased. You gave her pearls,
then scarves, to try to capture and reflect
an essence – stepped back further, further,
inserting dark green dabs to form a bed,
and built on that until you’d filled the space
with tables, bureaus, bottles, fresh cut flowers
lying in the fragments of a shattered vase –
a note, a spill of wine, a twisted mirror –
added windows and a door – and finally you
stepped out of one of them to freeze the view.

https://www.metmuseum.org/-/media/im...w=173&m h=119

https://www.metmuseum.org/-/media/im...w=173&m h=119

https://www.studiointernational.com/...w-2011/2-b.jpg

https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upl...-s1600-c85.jpg

https://www.metmuseum.org/-/media/im...w=173&m h=119

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 04-27-2022 at 10:39 AM.
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  #12  
Unread 04-27-2022, 08:16 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
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Michael, superbly articulated poem, as usual... I don't find any of the links to do it justice. Could it be that you need to take up painting, too? Ha! In my eyes, your poem seems to invoke a Van Gogh-like splash of clutter and intrigue. None of the links do that for me. But the poem is gorgeous...

In my humble attempt, I wrote the "poem" (more of a journal entry as is) before I began upon the task of attaching a visual to reflect it. It needs a heap of work.

I will say again that poetry and imagery go hand-in-hand and so it makes perfect sense to pair the two. After all, look at Blake's work. Not every poem would benefit from visual overlay, etc. but it is a form that I think Sarah-Jane is well-versed/immersed in, and I am glad to be engaged in it.

..
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  #13  
Unread 04-27-2022, 11:52 AM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi Michael, and thank you for posting and sharing your poem. I like your work (I’ve browsed your website). For me, you have a very clear style which is uncomplicated but manages to convey complex ideas without labouring them. And I like this poem very much so I’m grateful for the chance to read it.

I’ve been at work today but spent some time with the poem this morning and thought about it hard over lunch. I like the meta-qualities of the poem - the fact we don’t see the picture, or the man, or the woman, but they are instead defined by the things around them. I like the frames, the view - mentioned, explicitly, just as the poem closes and the moment is released, in a sense. I wonder who ‘we’ are, too - the narrator.

I haven’t got as far as looking at the images youv'e linked to yet (apologies, this is because I spent too long with the poem). I’m going to do so in a second- I’m really interested what your choices are. I know that mine would be to go for the frames/things angle - maybe Braque. Not an image of a woman. If I were going for an image of a woman - very straight link with image and poem - it were it’d be from that period - Modigliani, maybe. Or you could go for Tracey Emin’s bed, and that would bring a whole new set of meanings to the poem. I know! Rachel Whiteread’s Due Porte. That would bring out the ‘things’ angle.

Anyway, I’m excited to explore your links, and I’ll be doing this next, and will post later once I have done so!

Sarah-Jane
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  #14  
Unread 04-27-2022, 12:02 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi Michael,

I have just looked at your images and I think they're all fab. For me, they work with the idea of inside/outside, the picture as representation (the ideas of the poem rather the furniture of the poem).

I'll come back again, and I can see the rationale for all the choices, all of which dialogue with the image, again for me, in slightly different ways, but for now, I think the final image is the one I love with the poem, because it brings in something new - the woman as onlooker. The woman as onlooker, framed. Looking outside. That really works for me with the poem. Which one is your favourite?

Sarah-Jane
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  #15  
Unread 04-29-2022, 10:44 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Sorry about the delay, but none of them really work for me - which is why I posted so many in the beginning. I would normally ask my wife to help - she's spent her life working as a graphic arts director and illustrator, and does my covers - but it's gardening time and she's got compost coming out of her ears. Hopper and Modigliani call to me, but nothing works perfectly. Here's my present favorite.

https://images.collections.yale.edu/.../0/default.jpg

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 04-29-2022 at 10:48 AM.
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  #16  
Unread 04-29-2022, 02:10 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Tell your wife good luck with the gardening! I don't know what the climate/season is like where you are but over here everything is growing and growing, and mostly in inconvenient places (I am not a gardener - the best word to describe the garden is 'wild' - but it does have lots of life and colour in it).

To pictures. I can see that the openness - the lack of clutter in the latest image works with the poem's dissatisfied list of objects. So it adds weight to that reading.

Thinking about Hopper and Modigliani and the poem took me to Vanessa Bell and Charleston (not sure why, possibly the gardening snuck in).

https://emuseum.aberdeencity.gov.uk/...8/vanessa-bell

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/si...?itok=UpHPWvuN

https://chariswhiteblog.files.wordpr...6/image20.jpeg

Is there a particular meaning that you want the image to draw out?

Sarah-Jane
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  #17  
Unread 04-29-2022, 03:04 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Sorry, Sarah-Jane, but those don't do it for me. I think the open window - and possible reading of a hint of a spat and a suicide - the spill of wine, the shattered vase, the twisted mirror - are what I'm trying to capture in the graphic. A sense of foreboding. Your choices are good art, but too pleasant for me, and they are all a step further from the poem than I want

Here's another one from the same book that's crying for an illustration - a Hopper, of course, but darker than the one above.

For Trudy, in New York on Business

You came and went in dead flat Hopper light:
encounter at the Whitney; swift affair
that we, both married, knew would lead nowhere -
but all each wanted was the one-night
stand of sorts; late afternoon-lit flight
to your hotel; a lamp, a desk, a chair,
a bed on which to stumble, fall and share
the satisfaction of an appetite

for unexpected sex. No mysteries,
no chiaroscuro worked to mask the sight
of loose and mottled flesh. And did we care?
Was there more there than Edward Hopper sees?
You filled the window, stark, unshaded, bright;
I watched your shadow paint the soot-choked air.


Maybe this one: https://www.moma.org/media/W1siZiIsI...a43cd3812d99e9
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  #18  
Unread 04-29-2022, 03:48 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Don't apologise - that's fine - I hadn't read that strand in the poem so much, so actually, for me, it saves me from the burning question; 'does this need an image at all', because clearly it does if you want to bring out that story for this reader at least ( I read it very much from the sense of a painter who 'couldn't get it right' so kept adding things to the picture, until the central figure disappeared in the clutter.)

I'll have another look tomorrow, but to be honest, I think the image you've chosen is a spot-on illustration for the image. It works with, without being overwhelming. If this was/is a 'real' project (I hope it is, I think there's a market for illustrated poetry) would you want them all to be Hopper?

Wildcard, and it's Friday night, but how about a Rothko for the first one?

https://d2jv9003bew7ag.cloudfront.ne...othko-No-2.jpg

Sarah-Jane
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  #19  
Unread 04-29-2022, 03:58 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Sarah-Jane,

Here's a painting I'm rather fond of from the Musee d'Orsay (and wikimedia), and a poem to accompany it.

Cheers,
John

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...%27s_Curse.jpg


Cain’s Song

I serve an unforgiving God.
He tells me high. He tells me low.
He is above and I below.
It is His job to poke and prod
me into betterment. I plod
from Spring to Winter, seed to snow,
as if I had someplace to go.
I am acquainted with the rod.
Though not a supple man, I bend –
but never far enough to mend
our broken covenant. His thumb
is on the scale, world without end.
If my voice lifts, let us pretend
I'm singing. Let the angels come.

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  #20  
Unread 04-29-2022, 04:49 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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I like both the poem and the painting, John, but I'm not sure they work well together. I think the painting would go well with a louder, less controlled poem; and the poem with quieter, more controlled work of art.
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