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Still’s Life



"Poïesis is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιέω, which means "to make". This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poietic work reconciles thought with matter and time, and man with the world." (Wikipedia)

This is a regular series of poems on the topic of art. Kurt Eidsvig's column, Poïesis, which appeared in Volume 1 of Big Red & Shiny, brings a poetic twist to our conversation on art and culture. More of Kurt's poems can be found in our archives.

On visiting the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver

I pity your oranges, your bowls
of unpeeled seclusion as the landscapes
of the past stack up, sort themselves
into inconsistent and unintentional

These images are remains, the filtered
remnants unclaimed by gorging collectors,
or interested advisors to museum boards. All
across Dakota, spirits seep and soar,

redirect their paths, internal and external
dialogues, as long summer grass, wisps
of blades turned against the sunset or insistent
traffic, are moving someplace else.

In the future there will be buildings
you lived in, buried cold tones silhouetted
against dark forms, or ocean—stubborn
and mean and inconsolable—as the mourner’s
eyes for rearview memories

assemble the tracks of your continually landing hand.
Rooms are square to hold you and piece together
murmurs of forced collision. These things you brought
to lunch turn to starts for dinner; decompose
in the dawn and daybreak, linger at the red backdoor.


About Author

Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist, poet, and writer. He has taught courses in Art History and Writing for UMASS/Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the University of Montana. His work has earned awards from organizations like the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital.

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