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The Colored Line, the Pictured Word: A Four-Week Poetry Workshop


Whether a work of art inspires a poem, think John Keats and the Grecian Urn, or whether a poem inspires a work of art, as in William Blake's illustrations for Dante's Inferno, the line drawn between art and poetry has been crossed, hatched, and colored in amazing ways.  The Mid-Manhattan Library Art and Picture Collections are offering a four-week workshop to examine the connection between art and poetry and we invite you to join us.   

Since the pictogram, the language of art and the language of poets have intertwined.  During the course of the workshop, we’ll read and write poems about art; we’ll look at illustrations of poems, and we’ll search for pictures that describe the visual landscape of selected poems.  By the end, participants will have created a scrapbook of poems and pictures reflecting the connections they have drawn from the visual to the verbal and back again.

Sign up Visit the Picture Collection, 3rd floor, Mid-Manhattan Library, or email:  Number of participants limited to 12.

And high in the boughs of her haunted house, the moon and she are sitting.,[Fairy playing the harp.], Digital ID 832477, New York Public Library

Schedule: from 6pm - 8pm, in Room 101 (on the first floor) and in the Picture Collection (third floor)

Week 1 (Thursday, January 13, 2011):

  • Introduction
  • Read aloud & discuss 4 poems about works of art
  • Write a poem about a work of art (art selections and suggestions provided).
  • Share the new poems with the group

Week 2 (Thursday, January 20):

  • Look at artwork made to illustrate poems
  • Discuss how the artwork represents the poem.  Does the artwork change the poem?
  • Sketch a picture of a poem (poems provided; bring pencils and markers)

Week 3 (Thursday, January 27):

  • Each participant brings a poem about art to read aloud and share with the group.   
  • Each participant brings a visually evocative poem to read aloud and share with the group.
  • Participants use the Picture Collection to gather images reflecting the content and emotional climate of their poems. 

Week 4 (Thursday, February 3):

  • Each participant brings a copy of an artwork to share with the group
  • Participants choose an artwork and write a poem about the work
  • Participants compile their scrapbooks drawing connections from the line to the image, from the image to the word.

Sources for more on Art and Poetry:

The Art and Picture Collection


NYPL Digital

Poets House

The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Tool

  • There are 157 poems about Painting and Sculpture
  • There are 50 poems about Architecture & Design (The Academy of American Poets)



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