Tuesday, 31 August 2010

After a Keith Haring exhibition

The exhibition KEITH HARING 1978-1982 is showing at Vienna's Kunsthalle until 19th September 2010.

Haring (1958-1990) was inspired by New York downtown culture. He drew cartoons in the New York subway, his philosophy being that people should not be frightened of art and that art should be for the masses. Millions of ordinary people travelling through New York's subway stations in the early 1980's saw Haring's cartoons from the train windows.Recently somebody told me that I put too many of my poems on the Internet. I should put them in a book and sell it. But I've already done that. Now, like Haring, I want to share my work with as many people as possible.

I don't want people to be frightened of poetry, or to think of it as something elitist. That viewpoint is a hangover from poor teaching methods. I think of this Poet-in-Residence blog as a way to share my work. Whether my work is worth sharing, whether it is any good or not is not really my concern, for ultimately all depends on the individual reader's conception of it.

Artist as middleman

at least on paper

angular men with attitude
are free to hang around the subway stations
under the phallic buildings
at 14th 23rd 33rd and 66th
in NY
where the TV
is a dog barking
and to carry their crosses
and their violence
behind their backs
when they shop for mouthwatering giant chickens
in tailored-to-fit trousers
for slimline wives
planning the next vacation to Florida
on the sofa with a cool filter tip
in their lips

On subway paper at least

the dark side of an energy that bears its cross
unseen behind its back
is found in a TV newsreader's eyes ears and mouth
all firmly closed to a story

Viewers are therefore free to create

their own realities
their own meanings
and their own conceptions




  1. I watched a T.V. program on him the other evening and thought then that there was a connection between his public space art and putting work on the internet. I suspect that more people get to read my poems on the web than would if I put them in a book. (Could do both, of course.)

  2. Thanks Dave,
    "...more people get to read my poems on the web..." and that's doubtless good. Obviously it's good to produce a book now and then too. But maybe that's for the very few.

    I think it's the web that keeps the poet's nose to the bardic grindstone.

    There are some terrific, fresh, daring, poems to be found on many bardic blogs around the world, like your own place for instance, and also on websites like Poem Hunter.

    "I have been enlightened.I have fallen into poetry and it has swallowed me up." (KH)

  3. Well said, Poet. I put my stuff on my blog to make myself have the discipline of writing something each day - and as you say - people get out of it what they choose to get out of it.

  4. well said - Them's my sentiments!!!

  5. I was one of those "ordinary people travelling through New York's subway stations in the early 1980's." His greatest gift may have been to make you look at ALL grafitti (and not just his) as self expression, and therefore art. He changed the experience of riding the subway for many of us.

  6. Re the graffiti thing thanks for your reaction Clowncar! great to meet a genuine been there got the t-shirt!


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