Past Exhibitions

Simonides: what remains

Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Copyright Norman McBeath

Simonides: what remains

Sep 6, 2013 – Sep 30, 2013

Simonides: what remains showcases poet Robert Crawford’s translations of poetic fragments by the ancient Greek poet Simonides. On view will be tiny texts— versions of epitaphs and poetic fragments—written thousands of years ago. The writing, which remembers those fallen in battle, is accompanied by photographer Norman McBeath’s striking black-and-white images. McBeath’s photographs reflect Simonides’ work at an oblique angle; studies of what remains in a landscape.

Simonides: what remains is loaned to the Poetry Foundation by the Special Collections Division of the University of St Andrews Library in association with the Scottish Poetry Library.

Robert Crawford was born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, in 1959, and grew up in Cambuslang. His first collection of poems, A Scottish Assembly, was published in 1990, and his most recent collection is Full Volume (2008). His versions of Latin poems by George Buchanan and Arthur Johnston were published in his book Apollos of the North (2006), and between 2011 and 2013 his Scots versions of Simonides were exhibited in the United Kingdom and the United States alongside photographs by Norman McBeath, as well as appearing in the Easel Press volume, Simonides (2011).  Professor of Modern Scottish Literature and Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Poetry at the University of St Andrews, he is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Norman McBeath is a photographer and printmaker. The National Portrait Galleries in London and Edinburgh have over fifty of his portraits in their permanent collections. His work has been shown as part of exhibitions at the Leica Gallery in New York, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. A number of award-winning writers have produced original work in response to his photographs including Jeanette Winterson (Oxford at Night, 2006), A. L. Kennedy (Evidence, 2006) and Janice Galloway (City Stories, 2008). His collaboration with the former Professor of Poetry at Oxford, Paul Muldoon, Plan B (Enitharmon Press, 2009) was exhibited at the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Shame Every Rose: Images of Afghanistan

Seamus Murphy

Shame Every Rose: Images of Afghanistan

Jun 19, 2013 – Aug 24, 2013

I’ll make a tattoo from my lover’s blood
and shame every rose in the green garden.

The June 2013 issue of Poetry is devoted to landays, a form of oral folk poetry comprised of couplets, created by and for the more than twenty million Pashtun women who span the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This companion exhibition features additional photographs taken by Seamus Murphy between November 1994 and December 2012. The exhibition photos have been paired to suggest the couplets of the landays and are meant to be read left to right. While each pairing suggests a possible narrative, a tension exists between what we infer from the subject’s bodily expressions and what we cannot know of their possession and intention. In this way the combined images relate to the anonymous, clandestine, and very dangerous work of the landays.

Seamus Murphy began photographing Afghanistan in 1994, leading to the book A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan (Saqi Books, 2008), a focus on the Afghan people through the turbulent years 1994 – 2007. His film of those experiences was nominated for a 2012 Emmy Award and received the 2012 Liberty in Media Prize. His multimedia film Syrian Spring was nominated for a Prix Bayeux-Calvados for War Reporting. He has made films for musician P.J. Harvey and a film on the London Olympics for the New Yorker. He is publishing a book of photographs on America in 2014. “Photography is part history, part magic,” says Murphy.

Find more poetry and photos of Afghanistan in the June 2013 issue of Poetry »

Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry

Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry

Feb 4, 2013 – May 31, 2013

Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) was born and raised in Chicago, and her mother, Marion Strobel, was associate editor at Poetry magazine. Poetry was fundamental to Mitchell’s sensibility and to her paintings, and many of her closest personal and professional relationships were with poets. This exhibition, which includes the large-scale quadriptych painting Minnesota (1980), as well as photographs, letters, and books of poems illustrated by Mitchell, will explore her relationships and collaborations with poets including her mother, Frank O’Hara, Bill Berkson, John Ashbery, and Nathan Kernan.
Related programming will consider the interrelations of poetry and the visual arts more broadly. School groups wishing to tour the exhibition should contact to schedule a visit.

View a slideshow and read more about Joan Mitchell in the February 2013 issue of Poetry.

Image: Minnesota, by Joan Mitchell | 1980, oil on canvas (four panels), 102 1/2 x 243 inches | © Estate of Joan Mitchell

Co-sponsored with the Joan Mitchell Foundation

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Snow  City Arts: Erasures

Snow City Arts: Erasures

Dec 4, 2012 – Jan 17, 2013

Snow City Arts transforms time in the hospital into time with the arts for young patients during treatment. Exhibited here are thirteen works by youth at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital in Chicago who used the May 2011 issue of Poetry as source material for their own erasure poems.

(Image: Michael C., age 16, phrases and words from Mark Irwin’s poem “Poem Beginning with a Line by Milosz” float within a sunflower image by Georgia O’Keeffe.)

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