art and writing

Hmm. So, on my other blog, I make it a point to head up each entry with some art. For the journal though, I don’t bother since it’s supposed to be the easy way for me to release ideas onto the page without overthinking things. This leads me to wonder about the interaction between visual art and the written word.

I find sometimes that artists are never more divided than when it comes to different mediums of art. I do try to appreciate in some small way the visual portrayal of art, but the more abstract pieces often leave me scratching my head. I’m not slow or uncreative, I guess I just haven’t been illuminated by the right teacher or something. As long as I can pick some sort of theme out of the artwork I can usually run with an interpretation (even Salvador Dali usually had easily recognizable themes), but the truly abstract pieces give me difficulty. I find myself grasping with words like sparse, frenetic, messy, isolated, industrial and the like trying to describe them.

I imagine the artists who made those pieces have the same frustration in finding their audience that a poet does.

Anyhow, the right piece of art could lock in the essence of a piece of writing, giving a concrete image for the audience to pair with your words. The wrong piece of art, though, could distract from the writing or even mislead the audience. I’ve seen different people take different approaches to this: some poets seem content to pair up art with every poem as a practiced art, while others post their poem in isolation from all other images or words. For that matter, what do any of you think about these journal-poem pairings I’ve been writing? Should I separate the poem onto a separate post, or is my eccentricity endearing?

a dash of
swirling droplets of heartache
hard-wrought words
inked in tears of oblivion;
a tasteful background is usually enough
to get her struggle across
her next-door neighbor
cheerfully enraptures me with
come-hither eyes
punctuating her punctuation
pulling me in, forcing me to read
to wonder why
these words might match
such brazen advances
in art


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