Sunday, December 03, 2006

Reader's Diary #198- Diana Brebner: The Golden Lotus (FINISHED!!)

I was never able to get past the feeling that Brebner liked to play the part of a poet. Right down to the Greek references and unicorn (which hilariously did show up on page 79), page after page felt trite. Yet, Brebner won awards for her work as does everyone who publishes a book of poetry in this country. Or so it seems. Easy for me to preach from the pulpit of the unpublished, I guess.

Many of Brebner's poems revolved around paintings. Works by Karel Fabritius, Jan Vermeer, Mary Cassatt and Mary Pratt are the inspiration behind many of the poems contained in The Golden Lotus. I like the idea of art inspired by art- even if I wasn't fussy on Brebner's material. It made me think about the impact that the internet has on this type of poem. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that poetry publishers are going to invest a lot of money into the books. With returns just above abysmal (if they're lucky), it's no wonder that you don't see a lot of the paintings referenced by poems within the books themselves. I'm assuming that they'd have to pay for the right to use the images and so readers typically would be left in the dark about the artwork unless they had a familiarity with it from a previous experience. Now with the internet, the reader, should s/he be so inclined, can do some of the legwork and look up said artwork online. I wasn't able to find all of the paintings referenced in The Golden Lotus, but I was able to find some, and it made for a more complete reading experience.

What do you make of poems inspired by paintings, sculptures, and so on? Of course it all depends on what the poem has to say, and how well it says it, but for the most part I think art should be allowed to comment on art, just as on on any other facet of life. Different interpretations are always interesting and could only add to the value of the original artwork. I do wonder if some of the original artists would be upset, thinking that maybe their piece should stand on its own, but personally, if it was me, I'd just be interested in how my work was perceived. Any artists out there want to weigh in on this one?

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Were I an artist, I think I would love to hear the different perspectives on my work.
And I am secretly pleased that the unicorns did indeed show up.