MOA Poetry Jam 2017
There is an ancient Greek saying, variously attributed to the Greek biographer Plutarch or to the earlier Greek poet Simonides of Ceos, that says, “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” I love this quote, particularly because it suggests that the pairing of poetry and the visual arts is nothing new. Over centuries, these arts have often been compared to each other. Additionally, there is a long tradition of writers and poets writing about artwork, and this form of poetry is technically referred to as ekphrastic poetry. At the MOA, we are enthusiastic supporters of all of the arts and we have long been imagining an evening of poetry with writers responding to artwork at the museum. On Thursday, April 6th, we were excited to have our inaugural live poetry night featuring 23 poets reading their poems in front of the artwork that inspired them.
Co-organized with the BYU Department of English, the Poetry Jam showcased original poems by BYU students, faculty, and local community members. The poems were juried and selected by members of the Department of English as well as MOA staff members. Among the final selections were poems responding to artwork in various current exhibitions, including Shaping America, A Visual Testimony: Minerva Teichert