Art and Artists: Poems is a sumptuous collection of visions in verse—the work of centuries of poets who have used their own art form to illuminate art created by others.
A wide variety of visual art forms have inspired great poetry, from painting, sculpture, and photography to tapestry, folk art, and calligraphy. Included here are poems that celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Here are such well-known poems as John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and W. H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts,” Homer’s immortal account of the forging of the shield of Achilles, and Federico García Lorca’s breathtaking ode to the surreal paintings of Salvador Dalí. Allen Ginsberg writes about Cezanne, Anne Sexton about van Gogh, Billy Collins about Hieronymus Bosch, and Kevin Young about Jean-Michel Basquiat. Here too are poems that take on the artists themselves, from Michelangelo and Rembrandt to Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. Altogether, this brilliantly curated anthology proves that a picture can be worth a thousand words—or a few very well-chosen ones.