Sculpture has the longest memory of the arts: from the Paleolithic era we find stone carvings and clay figures embedded with human longing. And poets have long been fascinated by the idea of eternity embodied by the monumental temples and fragmented statues of ancient civilizations.
From Keats’s Grecian urn and Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ to contemporary verse about Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Janet Echelman’s windborne hovering nets, the pieces in this collection convert the physical materials of the plastic arts – clay, wood, glass, marble, granite, bronze – into lapidary lines of poetry. Whether the sculptures celebrated here commemorate love or war, objects or apparitions, forms human or divine, they have called forth evocative responses from a wide range of poets, including Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Baudelaire, Rilke, Dickinson, Yeats, Auden and Plath.
A compendium of dazzling examples of one art form reflecting on another, Poems About Sculpture is a treat for art lovers.