For Immediate Release

Poetry Foundation Collaborates with Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts on Poetry and the Portrait Symposium

March 28, 2007

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, announces a night of poetry and discussion on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m., at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Mo. Panelists will include the writers Mary Jo Bang, Peter Campion, Geoff Dyer, and Raphael Rubinstein.

Poets have often responded to visual art in their own writings, variously paying homage to the beauty of an artwork, analyzing the role of art in human affairs, or attempting to understand their own aesthetic by puzzling over that of a visual artist. The resulting writings are known as ekphrastic poems. Many such poems begin as a tribute or as a way to explore a writer’s reactions to visual art, but end with the creation of a whole new aesthetic experience.

The current exhibition at the Pulitzer, Portrait/Homage/Embodiment, represents a particularly rich opportunity to explore the dialogues that occur not only between art objects and poems, but also between visual artists and writers. To that end, art critics and poets have been invited to the Pulitzer to talk and write about the exhibition in the context of poetry. The collaboration has purposely been left open-ended. The writers may muse on the relationship between a reader and a speaker in a poem versus a viewer and an art object in a museum, or on the parallels between visual and poetic portraits. One example focuses on the current interest in contemporary poetry and painting to explore whether an authentic self exists. Whatever subjects these preeminent writers broach, they will be sure to add to the ongoing and animated analysis of the relationship between these art forms.

*****

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

About the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
The Pulitzer aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and architecture. With the works of art themselves, along with programs, collaborations and exchanges with other cultural and educational institutions, the Pulitzer is a resource for artists, architects, scholars, students and the general public. The Pulitzer is located at 3716 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63108, telephone (314) 754.1850, www.pulitzerarts.org.

About the Writers
Mary Jo Bang is the author of four books of poems, including Louise in Love and The Eye Like a Strange Balloon. Her fifth collection, ELEGY, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in October 2007. She teaches at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is an associate professor and director of the Creative Writing Program.

Peter Campion is the author of a book of poems, Other People, and a monograph on the painter Mitchell Johnson. His poems and prose appear regularly in publications such as ArtNews, The Boston Globe, Modern Painters, Poetry, Sculpture, Slate, and The Yale Review. He teaches at Washington College in Maryland.

Geoff Dyer is the author of three novels, Paris Trance, The Search, and The Colour of Memory; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; a collection of essays; and four genre-defying titles including, most recently, The Ongoing Moment. In 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2006 he received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He currently lives in London.

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of numerous books of poetry, prose, and criticism, including Critical Mess: Art Critics on the State of Their Practice. A new collection of poems, The Afterglow of Minor Pop Masterpieces, is forthcoming from Make Now Press. He is a senior editor for Art in America and teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2002, the French government named him a Chevalier dans l’Order de Arts et des Lettres.

Download PDF >>

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.