Thursday, November 15, 2007

Collaboration Research 6

I enjoy researching poetry inspired by paintings. It is a great way to gain inspiration when you've run out of ideas. This week I discovered Anne Sexton. Anne was an American poet and writer. She struggled with bipolar disorder and an unhealthy need to please men. She once told her therapist that her only talent was prostitution. Through evaluation, Anne's therapist noted her creativity and encouraged her to take up poetry. Writing poetry became her livlihood and part of her therapy. She has won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1967.

I discovered Anne through Wikipedia, began googling her name, and found many of her poems. "The Starry Night" is a title shared between a painting by Vincent van Gogh and a poem written by Anne Sexton. Vincent van Gogh was known for his lonely feelings and endless creative energy. Anne's poem was an expression of what she saw in the painting. Below you will see both versions of "The Starry Night," as both a painting and a poem.

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of -- shall I say the word -- religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.

--Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

For more poems by Anne Sexton, click here.

No comments: