The Poetry Foundation

Like alot of other blogs, this one is verrryy much overdue.

One cold snowy February morning in Chicago, when Manahil and Rayyan were off to the zoo with their dad, Ayla and I decided to go to The Poetry Foundation. The Uber dropped us off in front of a giant glass building with no door in sight and we stood there; me shivering, her nicely wrapped in her snowsuit, wondering where exactly to go.

Then I saw a small golden plate on the glass building which led me into a glass corridor that emerged into a garden. Yes, it was quite poetic. And there was the miniature art gallery and adorable little library with wall to ceiling shelves filled with books on poetry.

Needless to say, I kept thinking of Janet the whole time! She’s the poet in the class, and she recommended the visit; her entire artistic practice revolves around the integration of poetry and art. So yes, she was top of mind.

It is interesting that that very day The Poetry Foundation was displaying the poetry and illustrations of Jewish artist Ava Kadishson Schieber. She was interested in botany too (see that giant book in the middle). The exhibition also displayed items from her life, and it was fascinating and kind of mesmerizing to see someone’s life mapped out that way in objects and pictures.









I loved her watercolor illustration style. It reminded me of children’s books.

If I had come for the opening of the exhibition I could have met Ava, but as it was, I felt inspired by her art.

I find this piece particularly intriguing:





Doesn’t it look like the artist drew it without lifting the pencil once? Like those games we used to play as kids. So there was definitely the element of nostalgia, memories, and child-like illustrations to the whole display.

I even stopped for a bit in their library. Here is one book that caught my eye:






The poetry comics of Mita Mahato. Sometimes simple images and simple words can be so impactful. It really makes one think; is it always better to simplify the complex processes in our head before we put them to canvas or paper? Do convoluted thoughts translate to convoluted images which erect a barrier between us and the viewer? Maybe one should stop thinking about what looks good, or what conveys our meaning and just focus on exactly and simply how one feels. Then, maybe, other people will feel it too.




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