The Gazer's Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art

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9780226349497: The Gazer's Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art

This magnificent book is a gallery of words and images that celebrates the sister arts of poetry and painting. John Hollander, the eminent poet and critic, has selected more than fifty works of art—paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, and sculptures from antiquity to the present—and matched them to poems that address the same images in their verses. The result is an illuminating and ingeniously organized chronicle of words and images in conversation, as well as a powerful introduction to how, across Western culture, great writers have been inspired by pictures.

The Gazer's Spirit focuses on leading examples of ecphrastic poetry, or poems that directly confront particular works of art. Hollander, who is one of the most distinguished contemporary practitioners of the ecphrastic tradition, has crafted a survey of enormous range, taste, and depth, from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. The heart of the book is its gallery of poems and images set side by side.

There are poems whose presence in this book is all but inevitable, such as Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts" paired with Breugel the Elder's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, and delightful surprises, such as Edith Wharton's sonnet that casts fresh light on Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Here are Robert Browning and Michelangelo; Walt Whitman and George Inness; and Randall Jarrell and Albrecht Dürer writing and drawing about The Knight, Death and the Devil.

Among the poets are many visually sophisticated writers such as James Merrill, Richard Howard, Marianne Moore, and Richard Wilbur; the visual objects in the book are both celebrated and obscure, as various as a Greek sculplture, a medieval tapestry, a famous Renoir, or a fountain by an anonymous architect. In some cases, obvious affinities, such as a poem by Vicki Hearne on a white horse by Gauguin, produce unexpected poetic results.

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About the Author:

John Hollander (1929–2013) was the Sterling Professor of English at Yale University and the author of more than thirty books of poetry and literary criticism.   

Review:

On The Luxembourg Gallery by Washington Allston
If Famous Apelles With His Hand Of Art by Pietro Aretino
Musee Des Beaux Arts by Wystan Hugh Auden
From My Ancient Rock by Filippo Baldinucci
Gypsies On The Move by Charles Baudelaire
To The Bartholdi Statue by Ambrose Bierce
Art Is The True And Happy Science Of The Soul by Robert Seymour Bridges
For The Picture, 'the Last Of England' by Ford Madox Brown
Hiram Powers' Greek Slave by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The 'moses' Of Michael Angelo by Robert Browning
Arches On Arches by George Gordon Byron
The Statue Of Apollo by George Gordon Byron
The Vatican by George Gordon Byron
'the Man With The Hoe'; A Reply by John Vance Cheney
The Rokeby Venus by George Robert Acworth Conquest
Upon Fairford Windows by Richard Corbett
Brueghel's Winter by Walter John De La Mare
After Watteau by Henry Austin Dobson
The Statue Of Medusa by William Drummond Of Hawthornden
'se Aprovechan' by Irving Feldman
Cythera by David Ferry
The Embarkation For Cythera by David Ferry
Plate 134. By Eakins. 'a Cowboy In The West ...' by David Ferry
Sonnet, Sels. by Felix Ruben Garcia Sarmiento
The Victory Of Samothrace by Felix Ruben Garcia Sarmiento
Melancholie, Sels. by Theophile Gautier
A Trois Paysagistes, Sels. by Theophile Gautier
Two Worlds: 1. The Venus Of Milo by Richard Watson Gilder
Two Worlds: 2. Michael Angelo's Slave by Richard Watson Gilder
The Old Woman by Thomson William Gunn
Poking Around The Rubbish by Thomson William Gunn
Mars And Venus (botticelli, Ca. 1475) by Rachel Hadas
The Scream by Donald Hall
The National Paintings: Col. Trumbull's 'the Declaration...' by Fitz-greene Halleck
Gauguin's White Horse by Vicki Hearne
At The Frick by Anthony Hecht
Here Is Another Poem In A Picture: by Daryl Hine
None In Marble Like To Thee by Josiah Gilbert Holland
Effet De Neige by John Hollander
Giovanni Da Fiesole On The Sublime, Or Fra Angelico's 'last Judgment' by Richard Howard
Nadar by Richard Howard
Roman Sonnets: 6 by Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov
Hugo Van Der Goes 'portinari Altarpiece' by Randall Jarrell
The Knight, Death, And The Devil by Randall Jarrell
The Mind Of The Frontispiece To A Book by Ben Jonson
The Virgin Of The Rocks by Charles Lamb
The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Venus Of The Louvre by Emma Lazarus
Venus De Milo by Charles Marie Rene Leconte De Lisle
The Old Bridge At Florence; Sonnet by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
To My Worthy Friend Mr. Peter Lely by Richard Lovelace
Upon The Curtain Of Lucasta's Picture It Was Thus Wrought by Richard Lovelace
Turner's Old Temeraire: Under A Figure Symbolizing The Church by James Russell Lowell
The Head Of Medusa On A Rotella Of Michelangelo Da Caravaggio by Giambattista Marini
How Beautifully Graceful by Giambattista Marini
The Moses Of Michelangelo Buonarotti by Giambattista Marini
Pure And Mournful Crystals by Giambattista Marini
See How She Makes Her Plaint To Him, And How by Giambattista Marini
Tresses Which, Loosed In A Precious Downpour by Giambattista Marini
The Man With The Hoe by Edwin Markham
A Capriccio Of Roman Ruins And Sculpture With Figures by Joseph Donald Mcclatchy
'the Coming Storm' (a Picture By R. S. Gifford) by Herman Melville
Estranged In Site by Herman Melville
Pisa's Leaning Tower by Herman Melville
The Temeraire by Herman Melville
The Charioteer Of Delphi by James Ingram Merrill
Two Paintings By Alfred Wallis: 1. Voyage To Labrador by William Stanley Merwin
Two Paintings By Alfred Wallis: 2. Schooner Under The Moon by William Stanley Merwin
The Jet Ascends And, Falling, Goes by Conrad Ferdinand Meyer
Charity Overcoming Envy by Marianne Moore
Mona Lisa by Walter Pater
To The Statue On The Capitol; Looking Eastward At Dawn by John James Piatt
Lo, What Huge Heaps Of Littleness Abound! by Alexander Pope
You Show Us, Rome Was Glorious, Not Profuse by Alexander Pope
The Last Of England by Peter Porter
Far Off, Far Down, Some Fisherman Is Watching by Publius Ovidius Naso
Was On The Point Of Putting To The Knife by Publius Vergilius Maro
Roman Fountain Borghese by Rainer Maria Rilke
To A Fragment Of A Statue Of Hercules, Commonly Called The Torso by Samuel Rogers
For 'our Lady Of The Rocks' (by Leonardo Da Vinci) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
For A Venetian Pastoral (by Giogione) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
For Spring, By Sandro Botticelli by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The House Of Life: 78. Body's Beauty by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Poem Of Jacobus Sadoletus On The Statue Of Laocoon by Jacopo Sadoleto
On The Medusa Of Leonardo Da Vinci In The Florentine Gallery by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Matisse: The Red Studio by William Dewitt Snodgrass
On Rodin's 'l'illusion, Soeur D'icare' by Trumbull Stickney
On Sandro's Flora by Trumbull Stickney
On Fairford Windows, Sels. by William Strode
Before The Mirror (verses Written Under A Picture) by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Sonnet For A Picture by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Sonnet To The Portrait Of Hart Crane by John Orley Allen Tate
That Maro Fired -- The Miserable Sire by James (1700-1748) Thomson
The City Of Dreadful Night: 21 by James (1834-1882) Thomson
Watteau, Sels. by Derek Walcott
On The Statue Of King Charles I At Charing Cross by Edmund Waller
Renoir by Rosanna Warren
Two Backgrounds: 1. La Vierge Au Donateur by Edith Wharton
Two Backgrounds: 2. Mona Lisa by Edith Wharton
Death's Valley by Walt Whitman
On The Same Picture (death's Valley) by Walt Whitman
The Bartholdi Statue by John Greenleaf Whittier
A Baroque Wall-fountain In The Villa Sciarra by Richard Wilbur
Pictures From Brueghel: 3. The Hunters In The Snow by William Carlos Williams
The Country Girl by William Wordsworth
Elegiac Stanzas Suggested By A Picture Of Peele Castle, In A Storm by William Wordsworth
Evening Voluntaries: To Lucca Giordano by William Wordsworth
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

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