Posted by: flexiblegoat | November 13, 2009

Poetry from Art

There’s a poetry reading at the Tate Modern on November 23rd by the poets who attended Pascale Petit’s Poetry in Art course. I might have attended myself if I had known about it.

I’ve been doing a little writing from paintings over the last few months, though not very much, as I’ve been working on a dissertation etc. It started in a gallery in Milan. I hadn’t slept and I felt pretty out of it and mo pointed to a painting and said “write something beautiful about that”. I wrote one line about it, and then about painting another, and then another. When I was back in London I tried fitting them together.

I’m going to post an experiment I worked on in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. I started off with an idea of what I wanted to write about and based the lines in the poem, if it amounts to one, on depictions in paintings that grabbed me. I’ll lay it out with links to the paintings that inspired each line. Here goes…

Senorita Bonita meets the Shadow












Don’t be fooled by the path

through the forest

that your bridges

will hold in slick weather.

His gift’s a heavy torque to wear,

see how it chafes you.

The pale wraith is the miracle worker spent,

so spend a lonely hour to learn

how gods alike must die alone.

The hunters need not speak

of what they woke on the heath that day:

my image is set in rock above the city,

and now you see my footprints in the snow.

Call this a conversion if you must,

but blinding light is rarely binding.

You’ll find the morning after

as you left this afternoon.


If anyone else is doing this kind of thing or sees this and has a go themselves, I’d love to hear from them. I find it quite a fun way to write, although, like I said, I’ve not really got too far into it.


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