NER Recommends | Cy Twombly & Poetry

Categories: NER Recommends

In the new issue of Gulf Coast, Sarah A. Strickley describes Cy Twombly’s relationship with poetry:

Twombly liked poets—Rilke, Pound, and Eliot in particular. They offered him the condensed phrase, the reference. To his thinking, it didn’t matter if he represented the lyric precisely in his pictures; the important thing was that it was there for him when he needed it. A case in point is the massive, 13-by-52-foot painting, Untitled (Say Goodbye to Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor). The painting began with several volumes of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholia, but only reached completion after twenty-two years of work when Twombly wrangled the use of a warehouse, unrolled the canvas, and came to a beautiful line from a Keats poem. He changed plains to shores, but dismissed the disparity as unimportant: “For me, it’s just a fantasy, you know. I mean it’s a way the mind works; it can’t occupy itself with just a brush all the time,” he said.

The issue contains a beautifully reproduced selection of Twombly’s paintings from the Cy Twombly Gallery, The Menil Collection, Houston.

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