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The Poet and the Painter

From: Jackson Braider
Length: 05:20

The story of how a poet inspired a painter to draw a picture about a poem that had, in turn, been inspired by a piece of the painter's work.

Memday_small Bill Corbett is a man of letters -- a poet, a teacher, a writer about people and things. Indeed, Corbett is a man of words: He has ideas and thoughts; he has opinions; he loves to talk; he loves to listen. It was probably fated that he would meet one day the artist and purveyor of poem pictures, Phillip Guston. Guston himself was a wordsmith among painters -- he'd done vague collaborations with numerous poets over the years. But when Corbett asked Guston to do the cover for a diary of poems written over the span of a year, Guston did more than just paint a cover, he prepared 13 pictures based upon poems in the Corbett collection. Independent producer Jackson Braider reveals the story behind one of those poem pictures. It's called Memorial Day.

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Piece Description

Bill Corbett is a man of letters -- a poet, a teacher, a writer about people and things. Indeed, Corbett is a man of words: He has ideas and thoughts; he has opinions; he loves to talk; he loves to listen. It was probably fated that he would meet one day the artist and purveyor of poem pictures, Phillip Guston. Guston himself was a wordsmith among painters -- he'd done vague collaborations with numerous poets over the years. But when Corbett asked Guston to do the cover for a diary of poems written over the span of a year, Guston did more than just paint a cover, he prepared 13 pictures based upon poems in the Corbett collection. Independent producer Jackson Braider reveals the story behind one of those poem pictures. It's called Memorial Day.

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Review of The Poet and the Painter

This piece is a gem. It is compact and intellectual, but at the same time has a highly whimsical quality. It recounts the story of how Bill Corbett wrote a poem based on a drawing by Phillip Guston and how this artist in turn was inspired to create drawings based on the very book in which that poem was collected. What is wonderful about this piece is how it is able to really capture the way that artists are inspired by one another. It deconstructs this process by pointing out which images of Corbett’s poem struck Guston and shows how he reinvented them. This piece in all its complexity still manages to capture the simple and pure way in which artists appreciate one another. Instead of having a heavy, overly academic feel, it conveys the innocence felt by two schoolyard nerds who compare their notebooks and suddenly become best friends. This is something that high-budget bio-pics often fail at.

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Review of The Poet and the Painter

Phillip Guston once said, "It's the bareness of drawing that I like." Of course, he would be drawn to poetry also because poetry is words at a minimum revealing the maximum. The collaboration of William Corbett and Guston is interesting. Braider's many layered piece expects much from his listeners. Extremely thoughtful, in addition to being appropriate for National Poetry Month, this piece would work well in conjunction with a group of pieces about collaborations between artists from the literary and art worlds. I liked Braider's ending about how a painter reads a poem, how a poet reads a picture.

Musical Works

Charles Ives: Decoration Day, from The Holidays Symphony (Chicago Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sony 42381)