Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wishing I Were a Painter

Jasper Johns, False Start

Visual artists always have it over poets, I’m deciding. And I know it’s not a very new or original thought.

The same things that happened in the late nineteenth century, and then cascading through the twentieth, happened as much for poets as they did for visual artists. But, visual artists have been able to move much more freely with their medium (mediums!) than poets have. Paint, or color, will always have its elemental attraction to the senses that words just can’t match. So as Name Your Movement (etc.), and onward, captured the post-photograph freedom from figuration and narration for artists, there has been only a shadow of that kind of experimentation in poetry.

Rightfully so, I suppose, as words are not paint (video, etc.). But still, I can’t help but wonder if poets aren’t under-experimenting. And I’m not really thinking about imitation here, but I can’t help thinking that there must be more. Michael Palmer does well, I’m thinking, with this sort of experimentation. And Martha Ronk. And John Ashbery, in another way.

It’s just a thought, to take me into the weekend.

A thought like “What would Jasper John’s False Start look like as a poem?” Its pleasures as well as its movement within and away from the ordinary and the unrealizable.


At 3/29/2007 11:34 AM, Blogger C. Dale said...

I actually have a poem based on this painting! I am a huge fan of his work. I sent it out a few times and then retired it. Now I cannot remember why I retired it. I don't have it here in front of me, but I remember the first lines of the poem:

There is red, there is
red there is red and some
yellow... Between, among,
between. What does it matter?

At 3/29/2007 2:52 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Which sounds like a lovely opening!

At 3/29/2007 4:14 PM, Blogger C. Dale said...

I'll look for it when I get home. If I don't hate it too much, I will email it to you so you can see it. So odd that you posted this painting here today. I hadn't thought about it or this poem in a long time.

At 3/29/2007 7:20 PM, Blogger C. Dale said...

Found the poem. It is actually titled "False Start." I now remember why I stopped sending it out and buried it on my desktop.


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