Word meets image for ArtWord at the PMA

Word meets image for ArtWord at the PMA

When I moved from the woods of western Maine to Portland two years ago, my first act was to join the Portland Museum of Art. It is wonderful to be able to stop in whenever I want and stand for as long as I want in front of a print or painting I had fallen in love with. I found myself writing poems based on these works, and soon afterward conceived the idea of an event at the museum that would celebrate the rich, historic interrelationship between poetry and visual art.

The PMA, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and the Beloit Poetry Journal enthusiastically agreed to co-sponsor the project, and with their help ArtWord came into focus. A call went out for poems inspired by work in the PMA collection, and submissions came in from poets across the state. Those who were able visited the museum to find work they were drawn to; those who couldn’t delved into the PMA’s Collection Online. Poets selected for the event will present their poems alongside the artworks that inspired them in a tour of the reimagined museum galleries.

In choosing poems for ArtWord, I moved back and forth from poem to image, in the process discovering work that was new to me or seeing familiar work with a new depth. The 38 poems by 34 poets I ultimately selected engage the visual art that inspired them from a broad range of perspectives. This variety is particularly provocative in the ArtWord program where two, or even three, poets have written about the same work of art.

As Poetry Night at the PMA approaches, the excitement in the literary community is palpable. I’m grateful to everyone engaged in bringing the event to pass, especially the poets whose work will open our eyes and ears.

Here is a full schedule of visiting poets and the works that inspired them:

Auditorium Program, 5:15 p.m.

Laura Levenson
Steuben Glass Works, Compote 1910–30

Laura Levenson
Quezal Art Glass, Jack-in-the-Pulpit Floriform Vase

Monique Bouchard
Marc Swanson, Hooking Buck Head Down

Shana Youngdahl
Maker unidentified, Foot warmer, tin plated iron
with soapstone

Janet J. Stebbins
Andrew Wyeth, Maine Room 1991

David Sloan
Winslow Homer, Looking Out to Sea, Cullercoats

Jenna Beaulie
Bernard Karfiol, Virginie at Perkins Cove

Kate Cheney Chappell
Russel Cheney, At Cassis

Ken Rosen
Reginald Marsh, Playing on the Beach

Mark Melnicove
Alex Katz, Ada and Neil, Maine (study for Lawn Party)

Duff Plunkett
Marsden Hartley, Untitled Painting (Mt. St. Victoire)

Jeri Theriault
David Driskell, Procession II

Lee Sharkey
Leonard Baskin, Tyrannus

Mark Melnicove
Neil Welliver, Three Female Cutthroat Trout

Gallery Program, beginning at 6:10 p.m.

Third Floor, Payson Building:

Sandy Weisman
Louise Nevelson, Untitled

Jeri Theriault
Louise Nevelson, Untitled

Linda Aldrich
Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Asleep on the Raft

Marcia F. Brown
Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Asleep on the Raft

Marie Louise St. Onge
Lois Dodd, Self-Portrait in Green House Window

Karie Friedman
N.C. Wyeth, Dark Harbor Fishermen

Sherry Dec
Marsden Hartley, Kinsman Falls

Second Floor, Payson Building:

Shirley Glubka
Mary Cassatt, Hélène is Restless

Philip Carlsen
Mary Cassatt, Hélène is Restless

Wendy Cannella
Winslow Homer, An Open Window

Patricia Graves
Winslow Homer, An Open Window

Judy Kaber
Rockwell Kent, Wreck of the D.T. Sheridan

DiTa Ondek
Marsden Hartley, Surf on Reef

1st Floor, Palladian Gallery,
L.D.M. Sweat Memorial Galleries:

Philip Carlsen
Paul Delvaux, Le Salut

Jefferson Navicky
Paul Delvaux, Le Salut

1st Floor, Selma Wolf Black Great Hall:

Carl Little
Katherine Bradford, Woman Flying

Lower Ground Floor, Payson Building:

Susan Bates
Yvonne Jacquette, Dragon Cement Co. II

Rhea Côté Robbins
Yvonne Jacquette, Dragon Cement Co. II

Julie Poitras Santos
Yvonne Jacquette, Dragon Cement Co. II

Douglas Milliken
Murray Hantman, Kylum

Sherry Barker Abaldo
Dale Chihuly, Basket (glass vessel)

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April 14, 2017
Poet and Guest Blogger

In 1974, Lee Sharkey bought a hundred-year-old Pearl platen press, taught herself to set type and print, and produced over the course of a long Maine winter her first poetry chapbook. Over the next four years, under the imprint South Solon Press, she produced two more chapbooks of her own poetry, portfolios of other poets’ work, and ephemera such as poems on paper lunch bags. Since then, she has continued to work both on and off the grid as a writer, teacher, and editor. Her publications include six chapbooks and five full-length volumes.