Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marianne Moore's Desk, as Recalled by Robert Andrew Parker

The painter Robert Andrew Parker collaborated with the poet Marianne Moore on “Eight Poems,” published by MOMA in 1962. Here is his reaction to Moore's home on West Ninth Street:

“A very fragile place, very fine, well-waxed, everything treated carefully and shown with pride. She sent me a photograph of her desk once. On it were a leopard made of bone with painted spots, an elephant with his legs stretched out like a rocking chair’s, an early engraving of a rhinoceros, some candles, a Russian icon, some brass boxes for stamps, some bells, a photo in a round frame of her father. I saw a picture of Francis Bacon’s studio once, ankle-deep in torn paper, rags, crushed tubes, cigarette stubs, all sorts of filth. I thought how right and appropriate it was, all connected to his work. I felt the same way about Marianne Moore’s house: everything had to do with her work—the quality, the attention to detail, the perfection of it all. And the smell of a particular furniture wax that indicates a rich, well-ordered house.”

Reprinted from Poets on Painters, edited by J. D. McClatchy, U. of California Press, 1988.
Robert Andrew Parker,
“Cow in Field I”

More on Moore 
More on Parker

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