Wednesday, December 2

Modernist paintings transformed into poetic masterpieces

So for my Modern Art class, I have to do a presentation next week for my final. We get to pick any topic that relates to the Modernist artists that we talked about in class. So, I discovered that Sylvia Plath based some of her poetry on the great paintings of her time. She was inspired by the artistic genius of Rousseau, Kirchner, Magritte, Klee, and Van Gogh. I just thought that I would post one of her poems here, since that is the only reading that I have been doing as of this week. My school work is completely overwhelming, and I look forward to the end of this semester when I can finally read what I want to read. Back to work :]

But enjoy. Sylvia Plath may have been crazy, but she was a poetic genius that rocked the literary world. Appreciate her.

"Stars Over the Dordogne"
Stars are dropping thick as stones into the twiggy
Picket of trees whose silhouette is darker
Than the dark of the sky because it is quite starless.
The woods are a well. The stars drop silently.
They seem large, yet they drop, and no gap is visible
Nor do they send up fires where they fall
Or any signal of distress or anxiousness.
They are eaten immediately by the pines.

Where I am at home, only the sparsest stars
Arrive at twilight, and then after some effort.
And they are wan, dulled by much travelling.
The smaller and more timid never arrive at all
But stay, sitting far out, in their own dust.
They are orphans. I cannot see them. They are lost.
But tonight they have discovered this river with no trouble.
They are scrubbed and self-assured as the great planets.

The Big Dipper is my only familiar.
I miss Orion and Cassiopeia's Chair. Maybe they are
Hanging shyly under the studded horizon
Like a child's too-simple mathematical problem,
Infinite number seems to be the issue up there.
Or else they are present and their disguise so bright
I am overlooking them by looking too hard.
Perhaps it is the season that is not right.

And what if the sky here is no different,
And it is my eyes that have been sharpening themselves?
Such a luxury of stars would embarrass me.
The few I am used to are plain and durable;
I think they would not wish for this dressy backcloth
Or much company, or the mildness of the south.
They are too puritan and solitary for that-
When one of them falls it leaves a space,

A sense of absense in its old shining place.
And where I lie now, back to my own dark star,
I see those constellations in my head,
Unwarmed by the sweet air of this peach orchard.
There is too much ease here; these stars treat me too well.
On this hill, with its view of lit castles, each swung bell
Is accounting for its cow. I shut my eyes
And drink the small night chill like news of home.

-Sylvia Plath

and the painting is "Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh

1 comment:

laura217 said...

ahh thank you for posting this! I love her. and I like Van Gogh, too. good combo.