Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Art of Poetry at Hickory Museum of Art

(first published in "Outlook," 17 May 2012)

Hickory has a new opportunity for you to “get your poem on.”

Starting June 16, the Hickory Museum of Art will hold quarterly “poetry tours” of their ongoing exhibits. Area poets are invited to visit the museum between now and June 2, write poems based on the museum’s current exhibits -- Waking Up with Van Gogh, From Billy to Wiili, Discover Folk Art: Unique Visions by Southern Self-Taught Artists -- and submit those poems to local poet, Scott Owens, at by the end of the day June 2 to be considered for inclusion in the tour. Owens and HMA staff members will select up to twenty poems to be used in the June 16 event called “The Art of Poetry at Hickory Museum of Art”.

That procedure will be followed for similar events on the third Saturdays of September, December, and March as well. The tours will take place from 2-3:30. The deadline for submitting poems for each tour will the first Saturday of each event month (September 1, December 1, etc.). The tourswill consist of each poet reading their selected poem in front of the artwork on which it was based. Time will also be allotted for the poets to speak about the writing of the poem and the relationship between the poem and work of art and for those attending to ask questions. Attendance is free.

Poetry based on another art form is called ekphrastic poetry. There is a long tradition of ekphrastic poetry in English. One of the better known examples of ekphrastic poetry is William Carlos Williams’ poem “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” first published in 1960 and based on Pieter Bruegel’s 16th century painting with the same name, which was based on the ancient Greek myth of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun, melting the wax that held his wings together and causing him to fall to his death in the sea. That poem is included below.

The Hickory Museum of Art is located in the Arts & Science Center of the Catawba Valley, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information please visit or call 828-327-8576.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
William Carlos Williams

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling

the edge of the sea
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

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