On June 8 and 15, poet-scholars Stefania Heim and Wayne Koestenbaum shared their favorite “lunch poems” by the beloved poet Frank O’Hara—who worked on and off at MoMA from 1951 to 1966—in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden at lunchtime.
Posts tagged ‘poetry’
In a classroom on the Lower East Side where I teach poetry writing to eighth-graders, two headlines preside over separate bulletin boards. One says: “What poets do.”
The Off the Shelf series explores unique MoMA publications from the Museum Archives.
April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate the final days we thought we’d look at MoMA poetry books. MoMA has published a number of books of poetry, from the lyrically illustrated and hand-lettered A Partridge in a Pear Tree (1951), by Ben Shahn, to 12 Fables of Aesop (1954), illustrated by Antonio Frasconi and narrated by Glenway Wescott. One of my favorites is Three Young Rats and Other Rhymes, the delightfully illustrated book of 83 nursery rhymes selected by former MoMA curator James Johnson Sweeney and illustrated by Alexander Calder.
Next Wednesday, February 2, MoMA will present another iteration of Modern Poets, our long-running series of readings and performances in which poets and writers reflect upon modern and contemporary art and culture. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century</a>, which explores the transformation of drawing, the potential of mark making, and line and gesture through diverse mediums. Taking the concept of the political line as a point of departure, we have invited a group of international poets selected by Chilean-born poet Cecilia Vicuña—who will also read from her own collection of poems—to share their reflections on this extended notion, as it relates to them personally or to the world more universally.
As a writer, more specifically a poet, I like to turn to art as a source of inspiration. The relationship between the written and the visual presents itself best in the form of collaboration, where both mediums can share the same space. Collaborations between writers and artists can range from artist books and performances to publications and series of prints. The current Abstract Expressionist New York exhibition shines a light on one of my favorite poets and well-known collaborators: Frank O’Hara.
Early this summer, I was asked by MoMA educator Laura Beiles to write a poem responding to the show Rising Currents for a Modern Poets reading that took place aboard the New York Water Taxi on June 29. When I first walked into the gallery space, I was struck by the measuring sticks painted on the walls, showing how much the water will rise in the next century.
Did you know that museum visitors spend an average of three seconds looking at a work of art? What can a viewer possibly glean from that brief encounter? When I invited poets Matthew Rohrer and Joshua Beckman to do a reading at MoMA, I knew that they would be able to change that statistic for a lucky few. They know how to encourage diverse audiences to join them in the process not only of composing poems, but of looking at and contemplating art and creating a fresh experience with it. So I challenged them to use MoMA’s public as a resource to write poems about works of art in the collection or about the museum experience in general. In their preliminary field work, they spied on museum goers, listened to their conversations, recorded people’s activities, and trained a group of teens from MoMA’s Teen Voices Project to do the same. Our goal was to bring an assortment of people, art, and poetry together, and to spawn unexpected social interactions.
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