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Bridge Poetry Series | Xu Bing, Background Story: A New Approach to Landscape Painting

The Bridge Poetry Series highlights an esteemed literary tradition: poetry inspired by art. This series establishes a unique opportunity for Wisconsin poets to write and read ekphrastic poems. In the second century AD, ekphrasis (description) was a rhetorical exercise of creating mental images with words, and it frequently began with a description of artworks.

The program was launched in spring 2012 by Madison poets Katrin Talbot, Sara Parrell, Susan Elbe, and Jesse Lee Kercheval in collaboration with the Chazen Museum of Art. Twice yearly, in conjunction with a spring and fall exhibition, about a dozen poets visit the exhibition, write poems, and then take part in a group reading at the Chazen. The series intends to build bridges between art forms and among poets all over Wisconsin and celebrate diversity of style, affiliation, age, and ethnicity.

For the Bridge Poetry Series reading on December 10, 2015, poets wrote in response to Xu Bing, Background Story: A New Approach to Landscape Painting. Their poems are published here. Enjoy.
Photo by Eric Baillies

Ryan J. Browne

Cathryn Cofell

Catherine Jagoe

Dale M. Kushner

Tom Montag

Thor Ringler

Guy Thorvaldsen

Alison Townsend

Mary Wehner