Poetry Through the Lens of Art with Bhisham Bherwani
The relationship between the “sister arts” of poetry and painting is rooted in classical literature. Homer’s depiction of Achilles’ shield in the Iliad is often cited as the earliest example of ekphrastic poetry – poetry that responds to visual art – and Horace’s Ars Poetica noted that “with poems, it’s as with pictures.” Influenced by expanding definitions of visual art and new modes of communication, the age-old relationship has been vigorously employed, adapted, and enlarged by modern and contemporary poets. Ekphrastic poetry has evolved into an exciting, multifaceted subject.
This seminar will survey ekphrastic poetry through close readings of poems analyzed and considered in historical, political, social, and cultural contexts. It will consider how poets have resourcefully engaged with visual art – not only painting but also sculpture, architecture, photography, and other media – to address their individual agendas, impulses, and interests.
Bhisham Bherwani is the author of three poetry books. His essays have appeared in the American Poetry Review, the American Reader, Pleiades, Rain Taxi, the Yale Review, and other places. He was educated at Cornell University and New York University.