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Poems from the 2019 MOA Poetry Jam

Guest Post by Dr. Janalee Emmer, Curator/Head of Education

Guest Post by Dr. Janalee Emmer, Curator/Head of Education
Last week, we concluded our 3rd annual Poetry Jam at the BYU Museum of Art. I can honestly say that this event is simply one of my favorite things that we do at the MOA! There is something so magical about combining original poetry with original works of art, and hearing the author’s read their words aloud. To me, it makes works of art that I already know and love come to life in new ways as I hear personal insights and observations from others, voiced in beautifully chosen language. At the beginning of the event, I quoted an old 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 particularly enjoy this quote 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. At the MOA, we are enthusiastic supporters of all of the arts and this event allows us to support the visual arts and the poetry simultaneously.

This year we featured 14 poets, all BYU students or faculty, reading works from various galleries in the museum. At the end of the night, a student who attended said to me, “This is the best event I’ve gone to at BYU. Can you do this every semester?” For now, we are doing it once a year, but I was thrilled to see both the spirit of the museum and the poetry win another convert. You can read all of the featured poems here.

The event was juried by two members of the MOA staff (myself and Dr. Kenneth Hartvigsen), and two members of the English department: Thew Curtis and Logan Davis. Thew and Logan are both graduate students in the English department, specializing in poetry. We are enormously grateful for their input in the jurying process.

A huge thank you to the poets who shared their talents, thoughts, and time with us. We are already looking forward to next year!

-Janalee Emmer, Curator/Head of Education