Monday, July 22, 2013

Piero della Francesca and Jorie Graham

Postings this week will include selections from Art and Artists: Poems, an anthology of ekphrastic poems by Emily Fragos, Knopf, 2012. Jorie Graham was born in New York City in 1950 and educated in Rome and Paris. She is the daughter of sculptor Beverly Pepper. Graham won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994. The Italian painter Piero della Francesca (1415-1492) - the inspiration for one of Graham's most famous poems - was born in San Sepolcro.
Jorie Graham

San Sepolcro
by Jorie Graham

In this blue light
     I can take you there,
snow having made me
     a world of bone
seen through to.  This
     is my house,

my section of Etruscan
     wall, my neighbor's
lemontrees, and, just below
     the lower church,
the airplane factory.
Madonna del Parto by Piero della Francesca 
A rooster crows all day from mist outside the walls. There's milk on the air, ice on the oily lemonskins. How clean the mind is, holy grave. It is this girl by Piero della Francesca, unbuttoning her blue dress, her mantle of weather, to go into labor. Come, we can go in. It is before the birth of god. No one has risen yet to the museums, to the assembly line--bodies and wings--to the open air market. This is what the living do: go in. It's a long way. And the dress keeps opening from eternity to privacy, quickening. Inside, at the heart, is tragedy, the present moment forever stillborn, but going in, each breath is a button coming undone, something terribly nimble-fingered finding all of the stops.

ekphrastic poems painters poets

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