Thursday, 22 January 2009

Edward Hopper and the American Dream (part 2)

The poems in part 1 (below) were written in situ at the Western Motel Exhibition in Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, and are exclusively about Edward Hopper.
The Edward Hopper exhibition terminates on 15th. February 2009. On display are paintings and etchings by Hopper, but also works and installations from Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Tim Eitel, David Claerbout, Thomas Demand and several others. The exhibition's introductory leaflet tells that Alfred Hitchcock's Bates Motel in the classic Psycho was inspired by Hopper's work.
The following poems are also in situ works. They attempt to bring some of the exhibition's other threads and themes together.

something is gestating here

something timeless
may appear
something often does...

by slow rivers and broken boatyards
on the city's wrong tracks side
the bards and artists drawl and trawl
and know we are unsentimental
- realists all

know lives are lived
behind closed doors
and inward face away
from light
where couples brood
and breed

morning and faded paint
oblivious to the reverie
we find, or seek to find,
in the smokestack town
in the belching raw
and boisterous
on the lonely subway trains
some hideous beauty
to address
in words and paints

broken picket fences

make good neighbours
when budweiser flows
at the nite life lounge
where the broken down
litter the bar-room
and the buick rusts
at rest
having failed
the smog check
down at king's
its hood agape
in the palm tree shadow
it's owner gone
for coffee
and a
marlboro cigarette


  1. Like this poem very much, especially the bit where Frost is refuted by saying that when the beer flows it is better if the fence is down!! or words to that effect - I like that rather contrary image.

  2. Yes Weaver, it's all a kind of let's bury the hatchet but not in my back yard sort of philosophy. It's important to note that tears and beer can flow together in sympathy rather than as all too often portrayed in violence.

  3. Minimalist poetic form essays minimal realism: that is nicely mimetic.

    In short: Not at all bad for a Rovers fan.

  4. Nice one Stephen and much appreciated. Now waiting for Jacopo Tinteretto's White Bearded Man to return from Bilbao. I have his p/card.
    Perhaps good that you didn't get to Arsenal, lot of flu bugs going around. Football crowd not best place to be. Can Cardiff give the Gunners a shock? I reckon they can.

  5. Enjoyed reading all your Hopper poems. Favourite so far is The Wise Tramp. Also liked that drawl and trawl/realists all stanza.

  6. Thanks Dominic and glad you enjoy the Hoppers. I like him. He's a kind of Bukowski* of painting. A bit minimalist, but always in the right places (and that's the skill), for example no window frames (his themes are shadows).

    Hence that "drawl and trawl" line in "something is gestating here"


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