Words and Pictures


Words and Pictures

Seems that Mr. Shea has a short blurb about literature and the once-upon-a-time value and power of poetry. He mentions Billy Collins's "Forgetfulness" and provides a link to it. His comment, "And another thing: not all poetry has to be grim and serious. " Brought to mind a delightful piece by X. J. Kennedy "Nude Descending a Staircase." This particular link is very nice because in addition to the text of the poem, the graphic inspiration is also provided.

No matter what you may think of Duchamp's original (actually I haven't decided--I find it an endlessly fascinating study to see how my attitudes toward the work change through time) the poem is a powerful verbal construction that seems to catch the rhythm and grace of the Edweard Muybridge-inspired painting. In fact, when I read the poem, particularly the last stanza, I see more Muybridge than Duchamp.

One-woman waterfall, she wears Her slow descent like a long cape And pausing, on the final stair Collects her motions into shape.

[Note Muybridge's first name seems variously spelled Eadweard and Edweard.]

An answer to Mr. Shea's originally proposed question. Poetry is largely ignored by the public today because sometime during the twentieth century poets retreated from accessibility, seeking refuge in the ivory tower. It became progressively more reclusive and obscure, to the point that today it largely circulates among the poetic elite. For a much better and more profound explanation of this truly unfortunate turn of events see Dana Gioia's highly controversial essay, "Can Poetry Matter?".

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 22, 2002 3:54 AM.

How God Speaks was the previous entry in this blog.

Violence Morally Neutral? is the next entry in this blog.

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