Poetry

Website editor Jennette Mullaney reflects upon the intermingling of poetry and art.

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I feel these two art forms have been inextricably linked for as long as they've both been in existence. They inspire one another.

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  • "Poetry" by Jennette Mullaney
    1280929
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience: The Tyger (Plate 42)  |  1794 / ca. 1825  |  William Blake (British)  |  Copy Y, ca. 1825  |  Relief etchings printed in orange-brown ink, heightened with watercolor and shell gold, with hand-painted decorative borders  |  Rogers Fund, 1917 (17.10.42)
    7641024
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience: The Tyger (Plate 42)  |  1794 / ca. 1825  |  William Blake (British)  |  Copy Y, ca. 1825  |  Relief etchings printed in orange-brown ink, heightened with watercolor and shell gold, with hand-painted decorative borders  |  Rogers Fund, 1917 (17.10.42)
    1280843
  • Returning Home  |  Qing dynasty, ca. 1695  |  Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese)  |  Album of twelve paintings; ink and color on paper  |  Facing pages inscribed by the artist  |  From the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Family Collection, Gift of Wen and Constance Fong, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1976 (1976.280)
    12801016
  • Joan of Arc  |  1879  |  Jules Bastien-Lepage (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower right): J.BASTIEN-LEPAGE / DAMVILLERS Meuse / 1879  |  Gift of Erwin Davis, 1889 (89.21.1)
    11371024
  • Woods and Valleys of Mount Yu  |  Yuan dynasty, dated 1372  |  Ni Zan (Chinese)  |  Hanging scroll; ink on paper  |  Inscribed by the artist (upper right) and by the Qianlong emperor  |  Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of the Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.8)
    3921024
  • Poem page mounted as a hanging scroll  |  Momoyama period, dated 1606  |  Painting by Tawaraya Sotatsu (Japanese); Calligraphy by Hon'ami Koetsu (Japanese)  |  Ink on paper decorated with gold and silver  |  The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.59)
    6051024
  • Poem page mounted as a hanging scroll  |  Momoyama period, dated 1606  |  Painting by Tawaraya Sotatsu (Japanese); Calligraphy by Hon'ami Koetsu (Japanese)  |  Ink on paper decorated with gold and silver  |  The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.59)
    9021024
  • Eight-Planked Bridge (Yatsuhashi)  |  Ogata Korin (Japanese)  |  Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gilded paper  |  Purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1–2)
    1280611
  • Eight-Planked Bridge (Yatsuhashi)  |  Ogata Korin (Japanese)  |  Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gilded paper  |  Purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1–2)
    1280614
  • The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji)  |  Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1831–33  |  Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese); Published by Eijudo  |  Polychrome ink and color on paper  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847)
    1280861
  • I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold  |  1928  |  Charles Demuth (American)  |  Oil on cardboard  |  Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.59.1)
    8441024
  • Mezzetin  |  ca. 1718–20  |  Jean Antoine Watteau (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Munsey Fund, 1934 (34.138)
    8011024
  • Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night  |  1886  |  Dora Wheeler (American), for Associated Artists (New York City)  |  Silk embroidered with silk thread  |  Purchase, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Gift and funds from various donors, 2002 (2002.230)
    1280897
  • Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night  |  1886  |  Dora Wheeler (American), for Associated Artists (New York City)  |  Silk embroidered with silk thread  |  Purchase, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Gift and funds from various donors, 2002 (2002.230)
    1280772
  • Self-Portrait  |  1911  |  Egon Schiele (Austrian)  |  Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper  |  Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.433.298a)
    7041024
  • Self-Portrait  |  1911  |  Egon Schiele (Austrian)  |  Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper  |  Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.433.298a)
    12531024
  • Leaf of calligraphy: Leaf from the Shah Jahan Album  |  Mughal; calligraphy, ca. 1500; margin, early 17th century  |  Sultan cAli Mashhadi (calligraphy), Possibly Daulat (illumination)  |  Iran (calligraphy), India (illumination)  |  Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper  |  Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955 (55.121.10.32)
    6891024
  • Parallèlement  |  1900  |  Pierre Bonnard (French)  |  From Paul Verlaine's Parallèlement, Paris, A. Vollard, 1900  |  Color lithograph  |  The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1970 (1970.713)  |  © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    8231024
  • Jennette Mullaney
    1280852
  • My name is Jennette Mullaney. I write and edit emails for The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • I was raised in a household where poetry was recited and read aloud, so I've

  • always had a very great love of poetry. There are plenty of people who find poetry very snooty in the same way that they do

  • visual art, but there are plenty of poems and there are plenty of works of visual art that are really accessible to everyone, you don't have to know anything about

  • either art form to really get something out of it, even if it's just an emotion, an impression.

  • What really I consider to be a perfect marriage of visual art and poetry, we have this wonderful collection of

  • East Asian works of art, where the poetry is written on the painting

  • and the calligraphy they use is also a visual art form, so right there you have this great connection between these two art forms. It's immediate you can see it.

  • Eight Planked Bridge, although it's very opulent, I had always wondered about this sort of melancholy quality. I was very gratified to learn that it's an episode from a famous Japanese poem about a lover who misses his beloved.

  • There are no figures, there are no people, and even though he didn't represent it realistically, Ogata Korin managed to capture the sense of longing and the sense of emptiness in this incredibly lush, beautiful work.

  • Ekphrastic poetry is a poem that is inspired by a work of art, such as The Great Wave at Kanagawa by Hokusai. The poems that have been written about this woodcut tend to focus on the tension. You have this tiny mountain and this huge towering wave and it's always poised to strike, it's always poised to crash. Even though it's never going to, it still frightens me a little bit and makes me sort of want to run away from it.

  • Most people believe this work is a representation of "The Great Figure" by William Carlos Williams, and although it certainly represents part of that poem it is actually an abstract portrait of the poet, William Carlos Williams. The number five is coming closer and closer and closer and getting louder and louder and louder and the poem sort of works in the same way.

  • When I wander the galleries and I look at different works of art, I do sort of have these poets with me speaking to me.

  • Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night, of course, this is based on the epic poem "The Odyssey" by Homer. She's taking apart her weaving so that she can keep these suitors at bay as she waits for the return of her husband. I thought of Carol Ann Duffy's "Penelope" because she very aptly describes Penelope's love for this work. "I sorted cloth and scissors, needle, thread

  • thinking to amuse myself, but found a lifetime's industry instead." And, I actually really happen to love the fact that it's coming apart, the work itself is unraveling.

  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" has this fantastic imagery, very trippy, absolutely unforgettable. He's imagining things that could not exist in real life. When I first saw Self-Portrait by Egon Schiele, I was immediately reminded of the last stanza of that poem which describes a poet. "His flashing eyes, his floating hair!"

  • "Beware! Beware!...Weave a circle round him thrice...close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise."

  • I feel like these two art forms have been inextricably linked for as long as they've both been in existence. They inspire

  • one another. They have this immediate effect of being able to take you away from where you are, or, bring everything together

  • in a sense.

  • 17.10.42
    Songs of Innocence and of Experience: The Tyger (Plate 42), 1794 / ca. 1825, William Blake (British), Copy Y, ca. 1825, Relief etchings printed in orange-brown ink, heightened with watercolor and shell gold, with hand-painted decorative borders Rogers Fund, 1917 (17.10.42)
  • 1976.280
    Returning Home, Qing dynasty, ca. 1695, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese), Album of twelve paintings; ink and color on paper, Facing pages inscribed by the artist From the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Family Collection, Gift of Wen and Constance Fong, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1976 (1976.280)
  • 89.21.1
    Joan of Arc, 1879, Jules Bastien-Lepage (French), Oil on canvas, Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower right): J.BASTIEN-LEPAGE / DAMVILLERS Meuse / 1879 Gift of Erwin Davis, 1889 (89.21.1)
  • 1973.120.8
    Woods and Valleys of Mount Yu, Yuan dynasty, dated 1372, Ni Zan (Chinese), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, Inscribed by the artist (upper right) and by the Qianlong emperor Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of the Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.8)
  • 1975.268.59
    Poem page mounted as a hanging scroll, Momoyama period, dated 1606, Painting by Tawaraya Sotatsu (Japanese); Calligraphy by Hon'ami Koetsu (Japanese), Ink on paper decorated with gold and silver The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.59)
  • 53.7.1-2
    Eight-Planked Bridge (Yatsuhashi), Ogata Korin (Japanese), Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gilded paper Purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1–2)
  • JP1847
    The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji), Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1831–33, Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese); Published by Eijudo, Polychrome ink and color on paper H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847)
  • 49.59.1
    I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, 1928, Charles Demuth (American), Oil on cardboard Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.59.1)
  • 34.138
    Mezzetin, ca. 1718–20, Jean Antoine Watteau (French), Oil on canvas Munsey Fund, 1934 (34.138)
  • 2002.230
    Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night, 1886, Dora Wheeler (American), for Associated Artists (New York City), Silk embroidered with silk thread Purchase, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Gift and funds from various donors, 2002 (2002.230)
  • 1984.433.298a
    Self-Portrait, 1911, Egon Schiele (Austrian), Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.433.298a)
  • 55.121.10.32
    Leaf of calligraphy: Leaf from the Shah Jahan Album, Mughal; calligraphy, ca. 1500; margin, early 17th century, Sultan cAli Mashhadi (calligraphy), Possibly Daulat (illumination), Iran (calligraphy), India (illumination), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955 (55.121.10.32)
  • 1970.713
    Parallèlement, 1900, Pierre Bonnard (French), From Paul Verlaine's Parallèlement, Paris, A. Vollard, 1900, Color lithograph The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1970 (1970.713) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience: The Tyger (Plate 42), 1794 / ca. 1825, William Blake (British), Copy Y, ca. 1825, Relief etchings printed in orange-brown ink, heightened with watercolor and shell gold, with hand-painted decorative borders Rogers Fund, 1917 (17.10.42)
    Returning Home, Qing dynasty, ca. 1695, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese), Album of twelve paintings; ink and color on paper, Facing pages inscribed by the artist From the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Family Collection, Gift of Wen and Constance Fong, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1976 (1976.280)
    Joan of Arc, 1879, Jules Bastien-Lepage (French), Oil on canvas, Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower right): J.BASTIEN-LEPAGE / DAMVILLERS Meuse / 1879 Gift of Erwin Davis, 1889 (89.21.1)
    Woods and Valleys of Mount Yu, Yuan dynasty, dated 1372, Ni Zan (Chinese), Hanging scroll; ink on paper, Inscribed by the artist (upper right) and by the Qianlong emperor Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of the Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.8)
    Poem page mounted as a hanging scroll, Momoyama period, dated 1606, Painting by Tawaraya Sotatsu (Japanese); Calligraphy by Hon'ami Koetsu (Japanese), Ink on paper decorated with gold and silver The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.59)
    Eight-Planked Bridge (Yatsuhashi), Ogata Korin (Japanese), Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gilded paper Purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1–2)
    The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji), Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1831–33, Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese); Published by Eijudo, Polychrome ink and color on paper H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847)
    I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, 1928, Charles Demuth (American), Oil on cardboard Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.59.1)
    Mezzetin, ca. 1718–20, Jean Antoine Watteau (French), Oil on canvas Munsey Fund, 1934 (34.138)
    Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night, 1886, Dora Wheeler (American), for Associated Artists (New York City), Silk embroidered with silk thread Purchase, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Gift and funds from various donors, 2002 (2002.230)
    Self-Portrait, 1911, Egon Schiele (Austrian), Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.433.298a)
    Leaf of calligraphy: Leaf from the Shah Jahan Album, Mughal; calligraphy, ca. 1500; margin, early 17th century, Sultan cAli Mashhadi (calligraphy), Possibly Daulat (illumination), Iran (calligraphy), India (illumination), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955 (55.121.10.32)
    Parallèlement, 1900, Pierre Bonnard (French), From Paul Verlaine's Parallèlement, Paris, A. Vollard, 1900, Color lithograph The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1970 (1970.713) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Songs of Innocence and of Experience: The Tyger (Plate 42)
    1794 / ca. 1825
    William Blake (British)
    Copy Y, ca. 1825
    Relief etchings printed in orange-brown ink, heightened with watercolor and shell gold, with hand-painted decorative borders
    Rogers Fund, 1917 (17.10.42)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Returning Home
    Qing dynasty, ca. 1695
    Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese)
    Album of twelve paintings; ink and color on paper
    Facing pages inscribed by the artist
    From the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Family Collection, Gift of Wen and Constance Fong, in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillon, 1976 (1976.280)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Joan of Arc
    1879
    Jules Bastien-Lepage (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower right): J.BASTIEN-LEPAGE / DAMVILLERS Meuse / 1879
    Gift of Erwin Davis, 1889 (89.21.1)
    On view: Gallery 800
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Woods and Valleys of Mount Yu
    Yuan dynasty, dated 1372
    Ni Zan (Chinese)
    Hanging scroll; ink on paper
    Inscribed by the artist (upper right) and by the Qianlong emperor
    Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of the Dillon Fund, 1973 (1973.120.8)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Poem page mounted as a hanging scroll
    Momoyama period, dated 1606
    Painting by Tawaraya Sotatsu (Japanese); Calligraphy by Hon'ami Koetsu (Japanese)
    Ink on paper decorated with gold and silver
    The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975 (1975.268.59)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Eight-Planked Bridge (Yatsuhashi)
    Ogata Korin (Japanese)
    Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gilded paper
    Purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1–2)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji)
    Edo period (1615–1868), ca. 1831–33
    Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese); Published by Eijudo
    Polychrome ink and color on paper
    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold
    1928
    Charles Demuth (American)
    Oil on cardboard
    Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.59.1)
    On view: Gallery 910
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Mezzetin
    ca. 1718–20
    Jean Antoine Watteau (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Munsey Fund, 1934 (34.138)
    On view: Gallery 616
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Penelope Unraveling Her Work at Night
    1886
    Dora Wheeler (American), for Associated Artists (New York City)
    Silk embroidered with silk thread
    Purchase, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Gift and funds from various donors, 2002 (2002.230)
    Not on view
    American Decorative ArtsFirst and Second Floors
    Self-Portrait
    1911
    Egon Schiele (Austrian)
    Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper
    Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982 (1984.433.298a)
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Leaf of calligraphy: Leaf from the Shah Jahan Album
    Mughal; calligraphy, ca. 1500; margin, early 17th century
    Sultan cAli Mashhadi (calligraphy), Possibly Daulat (illumination)
    Iran (calligraphy), India (illumination)
    Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper
    Purchase, Rogers Fund and The Kevorkian Foundation Gift, 1955 (55.121.10.32)
    Not on view
    Islamic ArtSecond Floor
    Parallèlement
    1900
    Pierre Bonnard (French)
    From Paul Verlaine's Parallèlement, Paris, A. Vollard, 1900
    Color lithograph
    The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1970 (1970.713)
    © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor

    © 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art