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Plato’s Republic to Rivers’Five Spot: Poets Among Painters

De la République de Platon au « Five Spot » à Manhattan : des poètes chez les peintres
Eamonn Wall
p. 26-38


Dans cet article, Eamonn Wall considère les œuvres de divers artistes et penseurs de l’âge classique à l’époque actuelle, et tente de décrire les diverses méthodologies choisies par les écrivains et leurs commentateurs pour écrire des poèmes et les interpréter. Il sera principalement question ici des poètes de l’École de New York qui, apparue dans les années 1950, comprenait parmi ses membres des poètes tels que John Ashbery, Frank O’ Hara, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, et bien d’autres encore. Ce mouvement poétique empruntait son nom au groupe de peintres qui occupa la scène new yorkaise après la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Eamonn Wall s’arrête sur différents points de convergence et de dissonance entre les poètes et les peintres de ces Écoles, avant de considérer les liens entre poésie et arts visuels dans l’Irlande et la Grande-Bretagne tant contemporaines qu’anciennes afin de montrer les échecs et les réussites des poètes qui essayèrent de faire de la poésie à partir des arts visuels. Il conclut que pour un poète, un tableau est toujours un sujet irrésistible et se montre certain que tant qu’il y aura des œuvres aux murs des musées, il y aura des poètes pour les mettre en poésie.

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Entrées d’index

Index chronologique :

20th century, XXe siècle
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1A center piece of David Lehman’s richly detailed exploration of the development and achievement of the New York School of Poets is a photograph by Burt Glinn entitled « A Back Table at the Five Spot », the legendary Manhattan jazz bar. Seated at the table on a night in 1957 is the poet Frank O’ Hara and the painters Larry Rivers and Grace Hartigan. To O’ Hara’s right, the painter Helen Frankenthaler is deep in conversation with David Smith, the sculptor. Monday night was poetry night at the Five Spot when poets read their work, often to jazz accompaniment, and these evenings were organized by Rivers. On one occasion, while Kenneth Koch read his poems accompanied by a jazz ensemble, Mark Rothko entered the club and, on being asked whether he liked Koch’s poems, wondered out loud, in a terrific example of the pot calling the kettle black, « Why can’t these poets make more sense ? » In terms of expertise, Rivers, the painter, poet, and musician was the key figure as he was able to speak from experience to the various languages of the troika of constituencies that formed his audiences of artists and listeners.

2Given the intense interaction that developed between poets and painters in New York of the 1950s and 1960s, one might assume that each exerted a strong artistic influence on the other. Stretching this notion into a wider context, one could also claim that this has always been the case for as long as poets and painters have been aware of each other. My purpose here will be to look into the barrel of this smoking gun to determine to what degree this truism has a basis in fact. In addition to examining some of the work of the New York School and Lehman’s commentary on the School’s achievement, I will consider Norman K. Farmer Jr.’s Poets and the Visual Arts in Renaissance England, a work that explores Renaissance Arts and its classical contexts, and makes it possible to perceive connections between poetry and painting through a wide historical lens. Edna Longley’s provocative essay « No More Poems About Paintings ? » explores these relationships in the British and Irish contexts and reveals how Modernism radically altered the formal dynamics of both poetry and painting and changed how they spoke to each other. To illustrate and expand upon Longley’s thesis, I will introduce the poetry and criticism of William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley, and Denise Levertov into the discussion.

3Rather than try to explain the magnetic attraction that paintings have for poets, I will try to describe some of the results of this relationship in the last few centuries. This attraction I am inclined to accept as fact and natural in the careers of some poets, and in certain whole generations of poets, in the same way as I would accept, for example, the Augustan Age’s fascination with the city of stylish buildings and formalized gardens and the Romantics’ immersion in the ways and presences of the rural world. Of course, in ancient art, language and the visual appeared to be one and the same thing. Take, for example, the famous spirals carved into stone located at the mouth of the five-thousand year old neolithic tomb at Newgrange in Ireland’s Boyne Valley. These spirals function as visual art and written language. On the one hand, they are seen as belonging to the visual arts ; however, on the other hand, when scholars seek to decipher their meaning, they usually speak of the spirals as written text, eschewing the sense of connectedness between the visual and the written. Arguably, the relationship between language and visual arts is akin to that which existed between poetry and song before a dissociation of sensibility was wrought by the gradual development of literacy and commercial printing. During the great artistic periods in the Irish monasteries when such volumes as the Book of Kells were produced, there existed a vital connection between alphabet and color. Letters were formed with the purpose of being self-consciously artistic and imaginatively representative rather than to merely fulfill a solid, functional purpose. To say that the art of the Book of Kells encroaches on its text would be to pejoratively miss the point ; in fact, colour, design, and text are inseparable and allied in a common purpose. As we know from the work of William Blake, William Morris, and such modern printer/artists as Liam Miller in Ireland and Harry Duncan in the United States, commercial printing has not completely eradicated this mode of endeavor. As poetry has become less commercially viable, it has often retreated to letter presses where art and text are finely in tune. In addition, many commercial printers resort to modes of faux production values to make their books seem William Morris-like. Visual artists, and Larry Rivers is a good example, frequently include text, often poetry, as part of their collages thereby renewing contact with those early artists who saw the letter, shape, and color as being fully connected.

4To return to the Five Spot on a Monday night. . . When one thinks of Glinn’s photo in its wider contexts, the connections forged by the poets with the art world seem to be even more secure. Their label tied them to the Abstract Expressionists who, with Clement Greenberg’s assistance, made New York the art capital of the world. On the surface, it would appear certain that the poets had chosen their label to remind their audience of who they were connected to and influenced by. In fact, the reality was much different :

  • 1  David LEHMAN, The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets, New York: Doubleda (...)

John Bernard Myers, the flamboyant director of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, came up with the New York School moniker in 1961, hoping to cash in on the cachet of the world-conquering Abstract Expressionists. “The idea was that, since everybody was talking about the New York School of painting, if he created a New York School of poets then they would automatically be considered important,” Ashbery commented without enthusiasm.1

  • 2  Ibid., 21.

5Myers had chosen the group’s moniker and had brought poetry into the gallery’s realm of activity on the advice of Virgil Thomson, the composer, who reminded him that « every artist likes to have a house poet »2. Since the gallery was home to many artists, many poets were needed to achieve balance. But Myers did more than just bring the poets in to serve as ornaments : he published the first volumes of their work. As far as the poets themselves were concerned, neither Ashbery, O’ Hara, Schuyler, nor Koch had been born or raised in New York City and Ashbery was living in Paris for a great deal of the time he was being seen as a leading light of the School :

  • 3  Ibid., 27.

To an Australian interviewer, Ashbery conceded that he, Koch, O’ Hara, and Schuyler had important things in common, notably the “experimental approach”, but maintained that the New York School “didn’t really come into existence until after the fact”: he was living in Paris when Myers came up with the label in an article in a California magazine named Nomad in 1961.3

It is certainly a fact though that the poets and painters were close: they lived close to each other both in the city and on Long Island during the summer, and they discussed and admired each others’ work. Three of the poets (Ashbery, O’ Hara, Schuyler) wrote extensively on contemporary art for such publications as Art News and two of the group (O’ Hara and Schuyler) were employed by the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in various capacities. In fact, O’ Hara served as the MOMA’s contact with the downtown painters and it has often been noted that he would have achieved fame in this regard had he never become a celebrated poet.

6Two of the best-known poems from this school are O’ Hara’s « Why I Am Not a Painter » and Ashbery’s « Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror », both explorations of the connection between poetry and painting. In Marjorie Perloff’s view, O’ Hara’s poem should be read ironically and its purpose is to show not that poets and painters are different, as the title suggests, but that they are part of the same realm of artistic activity :

  • 4  Marjorie PERLOFF, Frank O’Hara: Poet Among Painters, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 199 (...)

Readers often assume that O’ Hara is stressing differences: the painter like Mike Goldberg is constantly “taking out”, and finally nothing remains of SARDINES but the letters, whereas the poet keeps “putting in” and “putting in”. But on a second reading, it becomes clear that the poem is a complete jest. If someone asks a stupid question, O’ Hara implies, he deserves a stupid answer. For in fact, Frank’s art turns out to be just like Mike’s. If Mike’s painting finally contains no sardines, so Frank’s “Oranges” never mentions the word “orange”. In both cases, the original word or image merely triggers a chain of associations that ultimately leads straight to its demise. […] But of course the poem is also saying that poetry and painting are part of the same spectrum, that in the final analysis SARDINES and ORANGES are one. […] Art does not tolerate divisions ; it must be viewed as process, not product. 4

  • 5  Ibid., 60.
  • 6  David LEHMAN, op.cit., 313.

Though painting is central to O’ Hara’s artistic vision, we should not ascribe more weight to it than it merits — O’ Hara’s poetry was also influenced in important ways by jazz and American popular culture in general. At the same time, he is a poet and his contribution to a panel entitled « The Image in Painting and Poetry », held at The Club in New York on April 11, 1952, as reconstructed from his notes by Perloff, shows him putting forward strongly traditional views on poetry that « might be t. S. Eliot talking about the delicate balance between fixity and flux »5. Like Rivers’ paintings, O’ Hara’s poems draw both form and content from a variety of sources though their beginnings must be located in traditional literary structures. For Lehman, “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” is a “profound meditation on Art and Time that transcends its source”6. Ashbery had seen Parmigianino’s painting, whose title he had borrowed for his poem, in Vienna, in 1959, though he was not inspired to write his poem until a quarter century later when he came across a reproduction of the work in a book in a back-street bookstore in Provincetown :

  • 7  John ASHBERY, « Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror », Selected Poems, New York: Penguin, 1985, 195.

The shadow of the city injects its own
Urgency : Rome where Francesco
Was at work during the Sack : his inventions
Amazed the soldiers who burst in on him ;
They decided to spare his life, but he left soon after ;
Vienna where the painting is today, where
I saw it with Pierre in the summer of 1959 ; New York
Where I am now, which is a logarithm
Of other cities […] 7

Like O’ Hara’s, Ashbery’s work emerges from a solid literary context. It retains its sense of traditional, formal curiosity though, over time, it has negotiated a path that, on the surface at least, has been constructed at a remove from his youthful pantoums.

  • 8  Idem.

7Connections between poetry and painting have in fact existed throughout the history of literature and painting — they were not first forged in New York in the 1950s. Also, the Renaissance is a key period in English Literature, what would by accrual become Anglophone Literature, as it is the long moment signaling the birth of the Modern. Norman K. Farmer Jr. shows that after the Renaissance had re-absorbed classical literature and criticism, it became natural for writers and scholars to assume that “poems and paintings indeed had much in common and that the practice of either visual or verbal art quite naturally owed much to the other”8. Before exploring the connection between poetry and the visual arts in Renaissance England, Farmer reminds his readers of what classical authors saw when they looked at poetry and the visual arts side-by-side :

  • 9  Norman K. FARMER Jr., Poets and the Visual Arts in Renaissance England, Austin: University of Texa (...)

Plato in The Republic suggested that the imitative poet might be placed beside the painter, since the tasks undertaken by each were concerned with an inferior part of the soul and thus had no place in a well-ordered state. […] In the Poetics [Aristotle] likened the use of color and form by artists to the use of the human voice by poets and compared plot in tragedy to outline in pictorial representation. […] It fell to Horace to explore more speculatively the creative relationships between visual and verbal art. In his Ars Poetica he likened poems to pictures in a phrase that has become almost as popular as it has proven ambiguous : ut pictura poesis, “as with a painting, so with a poem”.9

  • 10  Ibid., ix-x.

Farmer’s examination of representative works by Sidney, Donne, Jonson, Herrick, and others provides convincing proof of Renaissance practice. He does remind us that such a comparativist approach is controversial as it satisfies neither the demands of literary nor art scholarship — as it appears to dilute the two extremes — and yet he favors this approach as long as the scholar proceeds « from the small to the large and from the particular to the general »10. He cites Weisstein’s eight categories as a good starting point for comparativist scholars :

  • 11  Ibid., x.

1. Works of art which depict and interpret a story, rather than merely illustrating a text; 2. Literary works describing specific works of art (ekphrases, and Bild-, as distinguished from Ding-, gedichte) ; 3. Literary works constituting or literally re-creating works of art (technopaignia, including pattern poems and much of the so-called Concrete Poetry) ; 4. Literary works emulating pictorial styles ; 5. Literary works concerned with art and artists or presupposing specialized art-historical knowledge : 6. Literary work using artistic techniques (montage, collage, the grotesque) ; 7. Synoptic genres (emblem) ; 8. Literary works sharing a theme, or themes, with works of art.11

8Both « Why I Am Not a Painter » and « Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror » can be handily placed within this list and are able to occupy places in more than one category. O’Hara’s poem could be placed in 2, 5 and 8 and Ashbery’s in 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 though the categories are so generous as to make many placings subject to debate.

  • 12 Eavan BOLAND, Object Lessons: The Life of a Woman and the Poet in Our Time, New York: Norton, 1995, (...)
  • 13  Its cover features a painting by Darragh Park of Schuyler.

9The most problematic category is the first. It might seem true that works of art that depict and interpret a story (or poem, memoir, or essay collection) should carry more weight than those that merely illustrate a literary work ; however, it is just as likely that the reality is more complex. For example, we might examine the cover chosen for the American edition of Eavan Boland’s memoir Object Lessons : The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time. Its principal feature is Kathy Prendergast’s painting Waiting, from Dublin’s Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, and it is pretty certain that the painting was chosen to illustrate the text — in order to depict or interpret the text, the art would have had to have been commissioned after the text was written. The painting is dated 1980, fifteen years before Object Lessons was published. A central theme of Boland’s memoir is her contention that during her youth and early days as a writer in Ireland « a woman’s life was not honored […] [and that she] began writing in a country where the word woman and the word poet were almost magnetically opposed »12. Even though Prendergast’s Waiting does not depict or interpret Object Lessons, it functions as more than just a casual illustration, and was hardly randomly chosen. The three figures of women in the painting are missing parts : breasts, heads, hearts, the torso above the rib cage, and can be seen to represent women who have been disfigured by their society, thereby dovetailing neatly with one of the themes Boland seeks to explore. Also, Boland has often placed the work of contemporary Irish women artists on the covers of her books as a means of placing her own work within a given context, and as a way of promoting the work of younger Irish women artists. To take this a step further, one can say that most contemporary poets see (at least the many who are interested in book design, or are consulted in this part of the process by their publishers) the artwork that adorns their book covers as more than mere random illustrations. For poets in particular, book covers and cover art (and page weight and size) are inseparable parts of the whole book, even if the cover art is not directly related to the work itself. It is likely that neither Farmer nor Weisstein understands that in contemporary poetry (for good or bad reasons) production values and text must be spoken of in the same breath. In this respect, it was appropriate for John Bernard Myers of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery to have been the first publisher of the poets who become the New York School. Of course, many poets, the members of the New York School included, move from small art houses/galleries/etc. to commercial presses in order to make their work more visible to readers and because it is seen as a mark of honor and arrival to be published by a large press in a great city. However, even the most bottom-line driven publishing house, understanding the nature of how poetry books should be presented, assign higher production values and costs to volumes of poetry despite the promise of paltry returns in sales. A good example of this is Farrar, Straus, and Giroux’s volume of James Schuyler’s Collected Poems, a work of great beauty that is as elegant to behold and hold as it is delightful and inspiring to read13.

  • 14  Edna LONGLEY, « No More Poems About Paintings? », The Living Stream: Literature & Revisionism in I (...)

10One of Edna Longley’s objectives in « No More Poems About Paintings ? » is to list and analyze examples of poems about paintings that do and do not work. In two of W. B. Yeats’s later poems, « The Municipal Gallery Re-visited » and « Lapis Lazuli », Longley believes that « Yeats lets us watch him transpose a visual art-object into a verbal one »14 :

  • 15  W. B. YEATS, « The Municipal Gallery Re-visited », in Richard J. FINNERAN (ed.), The Yeats Reader, (...)

My mediaeval knees lack health until they bend,
But in that woman, in that household where  
Honour had lived so long, all lacking found.
Childless I thought “my children may find here
Deep-rooted things,” but never foresaw its end,
And now that end has come I have not wept ;
No fox can foul the lair the badger swept.15

11Earlier, we noted how the Newgrange spirals embrace both the visual image and the written word, and are best understood when examined in tandem. In « The Municipal Gallery Re-visited », Yeats simultaneously absorbs the work in the gallery and produces a separate, original poem. At the same time, as with the Newgrange spirals, we should not « read » paintings and poem in isolation.

  • 16  Edna LONGLEY, op.cit., 229.
  • 17  Idem.
  • 18  Ibid., 231.

12Charles Tomlinson and Craig Raine, on the other hand, are two English poets who, in their attempts to merge poetry and painting, « lose their balance »16. In fact, Longley argues, « even when not writing about paintings, Tomlinson tends to produce art theory rather than poems, art-criticism rather than criticism of life »17. Overall, and in contrast to Yeats’s success, she finds « the poems by Tomlinson and Raine […] parasitic upon another medium in proportion as they are deficient in their own [and] this indicates an impaired relation to the tradition which they implicitly and explicitly invoke »18. Even though we will have to agree that « some poems about paintings » are more effective than others, Longley’s methodology is, in this instance, disingenuous. In order to show how strong « The Municipal Gallery Re-visited » is, she provides a long commentary, using a variety of sources, to prove that Yeats’s ability to write convincingly about paintings is the result of what he absorbed from the Pre-Raphaelites, and only the opening line of the poem is quoted in support of her claims. To condemn Tomlinson and Raine, Longley includes long excerpts from their poems, and brief, unsupported opinions rather than supported commentary, and this imbalance undermines rather than proves her point.

13Underlining Longley’s criticism of the two English poets is her belief that modernist techniques undermined poetic practice :

  • 19 Ibid., 232.

It seems significant that two important poet-adversaries of Pound and Imagism, Robert Frost and Edward Thomas, based their critique on this poetry’s aspiration to the condition of the visual arts, its demotion of speech and rhythm. “Kiln-dried tabule poetry” Frost called it, and he scorned “eye readers” and eye writers : “the ear is the only true writer and the only true reader”.19

14Modernism disturbed poetry’s, and painting’s, formal order and after dominating the field between the wars, was subjected to a backlash with the emergence of the New Criticism and its emphasis on more traditional, formal poetics. Today, the debate between formalists and those who favor open forms continues. For Longley, not reading the poem ironically as Perloff advises, this folding of poetry into painting and vice versa has had negative results and she supports « Lessing’s demolition of ut pictura poesis », and quotes from « Why I Am Not a Painter » to make her point :

  • 20  Ibid., 228.

My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems. I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.20

  • 21  Idem.

Longley concludes as follows: “Sardines and Oranges. Chalk and Cheese. The image begins where the word vanishes. The word begins where the image vanishes. I agree with O’ Hara’s implied separation of artistic powers after the mysterious point of imaginative origin”.21

15Perhaps O’ Hara’s purpose here is to show separation, and this would indeed dovetail nicely with the traditional poetics he appeared to endorse in his 1952 lecture at The Club; however, O’ Hara was not always consistent when he spoke of poetry’s connection to painting and was capable of contradicting himself. Questioned by Edward Lucie-Smith on the extent to which his poetry was influenced by painting, he said :

  • 22  Frank O’ HARA, « Edward Lucie-Smith: An Interview with Frank O’ Hara », in Donald ALLEN (ed.), Sta (...)

Well, partly because I think the example of certain of the abstract expressionists in particular and then later other artists in New York and in Europe gave me the feeling that one should work harder and should really try to do something other than just polish whatever talent one had been recognized for, that one should go further.22

Though raised on traditional poetics, O’ Hara, and the rest of the New York School, having mastered its forms, outgrew them and moved on to the avant-garde.

  • 23  Peter HALTER, The Revolution in the Visual Arts and the Poetry of William Carlos Williams, Cambrid (...)

16To go along with Frost’s critique of « eye readers » is reductionist and dismissive of the work of some of the great twentieth-century Anglophone poets and, in addition, is to invite a tone-deaf misreading of poems written in open forms. Looking back on a life devoted to poetry, William Carlos Williams, a contemporary of Frost’s, concluded that « as I’ve grown older, I’ve attempted to fuse the poetry and painting to make it the same thing […] to give a design. A design in the poem and a design in the picture should make them more or less the same thing », a way of looking at poetry that differs radically with what Frost believed23. Peter Halter reveals in his examination of Spring and All, Williams’s 1939 collection, the extent to which the shapes and forms of these poems are influenced by the Cubist paintings of Juan Gris. Number twenty-one of the twenty-eight poems in the collection is the often anthologized « The Red Wheelbarrow »:

so much depends

A red wheel

glazed with rain

  • 24  William Carlos WILLIAMS, « The Red Wheelbarrow », The Collected Earlier Poems, New York: New Direc (...)

beside the white

Even though the poem has been the subject of various analyses through the decades (theme, meaning, its single sentence, typography, its objects, its formal balance, and so on), Halter is able to offer something new to counter Frost’s argument by focusing attention on the poem’s aural qualities:

  • 25 Peter HALTER, op.cit.,171.

The fact that we are predominantly concerned here with the visual effects does not mean that the aural dimension is unimportant; very often, as they do here, the two enhance each other, by analogy or counterpoint. Thus the juxtaposition of the monosyllabic words at the end of the first lines in stanzas two to four (« wheel », « rain », « white ») and the dissyllabic words that make up the second lines of these stanzas (« barrow », « water », « chicken ») is emphasized rhythmically by the fact that all three monosyllabic words appear in stressed position at the end of the lines (and thus form masculine line endings), whereas all the dissyllabic words are stressed on the first syllable and thus provide the line in each case with a feminine ending […] This sets off, visually, and aurally, the « concrete stanzas two to four from the « abstract » opening stanza, which stands somewhat apart as a « meta-statement »25.

Visually, poems like this are so striking that what we see is inclined to overwhelm even our potential to hear the work’s music. But, as Halter shows, musical elements are central to « The Red Wheelbarrow » and in perfect sync with the poem’s form. In following Williams, other poets (Denise Levertov in « Some Notes on Organic Form » and Robert Creeley in « To Define », for example) have theorized on other ways of bringing the visual and aural in freer play in poetry.

  • 26 Edna LONGLEY, op.cit., 227.
  • 27  Frank O’ HARA, « Edward Lucie-Smith: An Interview with Frank O’ Hara », in Donald ALLEN (ed.), op. (...)

17Edna Longley begins her essay with Kingsley Amis’s famous declaration from 1955 that « nobody wants any more poems about paintings […] or art galleries » and goes on to quote John Dixon Hunt’s statement from 1980 that « the incidence of poems on paintings, especially in the twentieth century, is quite astonishing […] » to indicate that the poets paid no attention to Amis’s injunction26. Two years after Amis spoke, Burt Glinn photographed a group of young poets and painters gathered in a jazz bar in New York’s Greenwich Village who were breaking new ground in their respective fields, collaborating, feeding off each others’ gifts, and showing enthusiasm for each others’ work. According to O’ Hara, one of the reasons why the poets spent so much time in their company was that « nobody was really enthusiastic [about their work] except the painters »27. Today in New York, Ann Lauterbach and John Yau lead a second generation of the New York School, and there is no let up in the number of poems about paintings being written and published in literary journals and in poetry collections. Third and fourth generations are forming as we speak. The poets are walking into the cool galleries from the hot streets. More power to their pens.

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Works Cited

ASHBERY John, « Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror », Selected Poems, New York : Penguin, 1985, 188-204.

ASHBERY John, Some Trees, New York : The Ecco Press, 1978.

BOLAND Eavan, Object Lessons : The Life of a Woman and the Poet in Our Time, New York : Norton, 1995.

CREELEY Robert, « To Define », in Paul HOOVER (ed.), Postmodern American Poetry, New York : Norton, 1994, 637-639.

FARMER Norman K. Jr., Poets and the Visual Arts in Renaissance England, Austin : University of Texas Press, 1984.

HALTER Peter, The Revolution in the Visual Arts and the Poetry of William Carlos Williams, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1994.

LEHMAN David, The Last Avant-Garde : The Making of the New York School of Poets, New York : Doubleday, 1998.

LONGLEY Edna, « No More Poems about Paintings ? », The Living Stream : Literature & Revisionism in Ireland, Newcastle upon Tyne : Bloodaxe Books, 1994, 227-251.

O’ HARA Frank, « Edward Lucie-Smith : An Interview with Frank O’ Hara », in Donald ALLEN (ed.), Standing Still and Walking in New York, San Francisco : Grey Fox Press, 1983.

O’ HARA Frank, « Why I Am Not a Painter », in Donald ALLEN (ed.), The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara, New York : Vintage Books, 1974.

LEVERTOV Denise, « Some Notes on Organic Form », in Paul HOOVER (ed.), Postmodern American Poetry, New York : Norton, 1994, 628-633.

PERLOFF Marjorie, Frank O’ Hara : Poet Among Painters, Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 1998.

SCHUYLER James, Collected Poems, New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1993.

WILLIAMS William Carlos, « The Red Wheelbarrow », The Collected Earlier Poems, New York : New Directions, 1966, 277.

YEATS W. B., The Yeats Reader, in Richard J. FINNERAN (ed.), New York : Scribner Poetry, 1997.

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1  David LEHMAN, The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets, New York: Doubleday, 1998, 20.

2  Ibid., 21.

3  Ibid., 27.

4  Marjorie PERLOFF, Frank O’Hara: Poet Among Painters, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998, 112.

5  Ibid., 60.

6  David LEHMAN, op.cit., 313.

7  John ASHBERY, « Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror », Selected Poems, New York: Penguin, 1985, 195.

8  Idem.

9  Norman K. FARMER Jr., Poets and the Visual Arts in Renaissance England, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984, ix.

10  Ibid., ix-x.

11  Ibid., x.

12 Eavan BOLAND, Object Lessons: The Life of a Woman and the Poet in Our Time, New York: Norton, 1995, x-xi.

13  Its cover features a painting by Darragh Park of Schuyler.

14  Edna LONGLEY, « No More Poems About Paintings? », The Living Stream: Literature & Revisionism in Ireland, Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1994, 231.

15  W. B. YEATS, « The Municipal Gallery Re-visited », in Richard J. FINNERAN (ed.), The Yeats Reader, New York: Scribner Poetry, 1997, 122.

16  Edna LONGLEY, op.cit., 229.

17  Idem.

18  Ibid., 231.

19 Ibid., 232.

20  Ibid., 228.

21  Idem.

22  Frank O’ HARA, « Edward Lucie-Smith: An Interview with Frank O’ Hara », in Donald ALLEN (ed.), Standing Still and Walking in New York, San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1983, 3.

23  Peter HALTER, The Revolution in the Visual Arts and the Poetry of William Carlos Williams, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994, 171.

24  William Carlos WILLIAMS, « The Red Wheelbarrow », The Collected Earlier Poems, New York: New Directions, 1966, 277.

25 Peter HALTER, op.cit.,171.

26 Edna LONGLEY, op.cit., 227.

27  Frank O’ HARA, « Edward Lucie-Smith: An Interview with Frank O’ Hara », in Donald ALLEN (ed.), op.cit., 3.

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Eamonn Wall, « Plato’s Republic to Rivers’Five Spot: Poets Among Painters »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. V – n°2 | 2007, 26-38.

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Eamonn Wall, « Plato’s Republic to Rivers’Five Spot: Poets Among Painters »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. V – n°2 | 2007, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2007, consulté le 04 décembre 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Eamonn Wall

(University of Missouri, St. Louis, États-Unis)
A native of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Eamonn Wall emigrated to the US in 1982. He lives in Missouri where he is employed as a Professor of English and Smurfit-Stone Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the current President of the American Conference for Irish Studies (2005-07).
Eamonn Wall, who has published essays and reviews on Irish and Irish-American Literature (among them the prize-winning From the Sin-e Café to the Black Hills [2000]) in a number of Irish and American journals, is also the author of four collections of poetry: Refuge at DeSoto Bend (2004), The Crosses (2000), Iron Mountain Road (1997), and Dyckman-200th Street (1994), all published by Salmon Publishing, Ireland.

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