The Poetry Book Project

Brad reading poemsDuring 2000 I became interested in how artists are inspired by the work of other artists. Of particular interest to me was the cross pollination that occurs among artists working in entirely different fields. How might a musician's composition influence what appears on a painter's canvas? If sculpture spoke through poetry, would it reveal more of its truth in the "ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds" of words? More specifically, could the interpretation of my work by other artists create a visual, aural, or verbal dialogue that would enhance another viewer's understanding and response.

My first project exploring these ideas was the Poetry Book Project. I invited poets to select one of my sculptures and write a poem about it. Initially, 18 San Diego poets, many associated with the creative writing program at San Diego State University, were invited to participate. I was also interested in how this project would express itself through the lens of another culture and another language. In 2001 I invited bilingual poets living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border to participate. They were asked to write both Spanish and English versions of their poems.

Poets readingThe poems that resulted from the Poetry Book Project were exhibited with the
artwork that inspired them beginning in 2000 in San Diego and Chula Vista in the U.S., then later at the Tecate Cultural Center in Mexico. Poets were asked to read their poems at the openings of these exhibitions. Later, I began posting some of the poems on my website, with the ultimate goal of publishing a book containing the poems and the images that inspired them. Now you can view the whole book online and print the poems out if you wish. I have included, where possible, photos of the poets and their contact information. Many of the poets who were students at the time the project began have since published well-received books of poetry. These are listed with other links to their work on their page. Poetry Book poets now hail from Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, San Antonio, and Tijuana, as well as San Diego.

You may browse through the poetry book either by clicking on the button below or on any of the poets' names. At the bottom of each poem page, there is a feature that allows you to page through the book a poet at a time. Feel free to print copies of the poems if you wish, but consider sending a $2.00 donation per poem to support the artist. Checks should be made out to the poet. If no address is available through the poet's links, you can send the check to me at 4709 Biona Drive, S.D., CA 92116, and it will be forwarded to the poet. If a number of poems are copied and you would prefer to make one donation, you can make the check to me, Brad Burkhart, with a notation as to which poems were copied, and I will make sure the money is distributed to the appropriate poets.

I invite other poets to participate in the project. Please contact me if you want to write about a piece.

I am also interested in your reaction to the poems. Do they help you better understand the sculpture that inspired the poem? Is your visual experience enriched by the poetic text? Please e-mail me your reactions. I'll also respond if you have questions. Please also feel free to contact the poets to let them know your response to their work.

Poetry Book poets are listed below. At the end of each poem page is a button to the next page or you may return to the main menu to select another poem of your choice. Thanks for entering the Poetry Book - enjoy! 
 

 Poetry Project Poets
Jacinto Astiazarán
   Uncle Sam
Beatriz Ledezma Mariñez
     Inés
Jan Lee Ande
    Annunciation of Francis
    Thread of Life

Melissa Marconi
 
 Entering Where Angels  
     Fear to Tread

Leslie Baze
   Shakti
   Metatron
Michael O'Donnell
   Thread of Life
Chris Dickerson
    Siren's Lament 
Severino Profeta Reyes
    Untitled
Diane Gage
    
Rot-Grin Jack
Erene Rawlings
   Song Beneath the Noise
     of Existence
Lena E. Gordon 
    
Listening to Life
Merrie Sasaki
    
Genius of the Waterbird
Marian Haddad
   Cypress, Daughter of Fertility
Ken Schedler
    Past Forgotten, Future Foretold
Maura Harvey
   Two Volcanoes
   Sacred Breath
Jan Seligman
    How Rumi Gained His Sense of
      Humor & Became a Great Poet
Martha Kinkade
    In Search of Inner Presence
Chris Vannoy
    Transcendtion
     Nativity
Cheryl Latif
    revelation
Jack Webb
     
Find Me a Magic
Featured Poems:
As new poems are added, they will be featured here!
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