Poetic visions come to art gallery

Published 10:05 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Suffolk Art League, in conjunction with the Suffolk Art Gallery, will host Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Literary Scholar Lisa Rhody on May 12.

Rhody will present an illustrated lecture, “Poetic Visions: What Poets See When they Look at Art,” on May 12 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Suffolk Art Gallery, 118 Bosley Ave. This program is free and open to the public.

Poetry and painting have been referred to as the sister arts, but they have not always been sisters well suited to each other’s company. In fact, some artists, including leading lights such as Leonardo da Vinci, have advocated for one of the sisters over the other, arguing for the superior (and eminently more worthy of a patron’s support) merits of painting over those of poetry. However, there have also been poets and painters alike who have disagreed, insisting that the arts have much to offer one another. The poetic tradition of narrating, describing and often “speaking for” painting appears as early as Homer’s “Iliad” and endures throughout history producing some of the 20th century’s best-loved works. Poets such as W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, John Ashbury and Jorie Graham participate in this tradition.

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Guided through examples of popular 20th century poems, this talk explores the relationship between the arts, uncovering what these sisters share when painting becomes the subject of the poet’s pen.

“Poetic Visions” is being held in conjunction with “What in The Word,” A literary exhibition featuring visual artists acknowledging the influence of the written word. This exhibit will be on display at the Suffolk Art Gallery through June 3.

Groups of five or more should call for reservation. For more information about this and other programs offered by Suffolk Art League and Suffolk Art Gallery, call 925-0448 or 514-7284.