Poetry Challenge: What’s the Story?

In addition to being an artist, Markus Lüpertz was a poet. Throughout the exhibition, share your Lüpertz-inspired poems with us to win prizes. Every other week, we’ll issue a new poetry challenge based on images or themes in the exhibition for fresh inspiration and chances to win.

Mann im Anzug – dithyrambisch II (Man in Suit—Dithyrambic II), 1976. Distemper on canvas, 98 1/2 x 73 1/2 in. Private collection

THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE:
What’s going on in Markus Lüpertz’s Mann im Anzug – dithyrambisch II (Man in Suit—Dithyrambic II)? Write a poem describing the story behind this work.

THIS WEEK’S PRIZE: A Dual/Family Membership to The Phillips Collection

TO ENTER: Leave your poem in the comments here, or share on social media with #LupertzPoem. We’ll select winners on Friday, July 21.

**UPDATE: There was a tie for the winning poem! They are:

Submitted by J.C. Thomas:
He wanted to feel blue
And hear the way he felt
Clenched fists and
Tighter neckties
Drowning out the sky
He imagined to be blue
He wanted to feel blue
And see the way he felt
An open book
Without words
He wanted to feel blue

Submitted by Karla Daly:
Save the Man for a Different Painting

It’s a fine suit, after all,
notched lapel, long vest,
Cerulean sheen.

The man, a mere suggestion,
hands of putty,
a swipe of a head.
A body, if there were one,
in motion.

So let us get back
to the impatient suit
not waiting for a man
to give it purpose.
A suit passing you
on the sidewalk,
a whiff of cedar and spice.
It whispers
hushed dining room,
side entrance,
embassy chamber with thick walls.

Save the man for a different painting.
Ask the tree trunk in mid-air,
indifferent to the ground.

21 thoughts on “Poetry Challenge: What’s the Story?

  1. Just like ‘manity’s erstwhile tools of torment
    The phallic helmet and bayonet
    Markus throws us another allegorical dithyramb
    A headless blue suit, with dark thoughts overflowing
    Poised, only slightly unsure, fist clenched
    A modern tool of social machination

  2. and then he puts on a suit and tie
    in an attempt not to stand out
    just for a change though,
    today he doesn’t wear his fake smile..

  3. No matter how well dressed
    this feeling of existential angst remains
    Eyes, ears, head, brain all the same
    Immersed in pain

    Unable to breathe, eat, think
    Soul hurts
    Heart hurts

    Head gone, but sadness still there
    Why?

    How can that be?
    I’m living in a sea of despair
    Is anyone there?
    Learned my lesson
    Let me go
    Let me undress

    Take off these clothes
    Let me lie down
    In the ground
    six feet under.

  4. How dry the dress code in DC
    That of men, partic’larly.
    Pocket logos — the sheep, the fox
    For flair, the pair of hipster socks.
    It may be Maison Kitsuné
    And nothing of the wearer say.
    So I sing praise of active guys
    T-shirt! Bike gear! The lanky stride!
    Fine suits, for sure, do have their place,
    But one sees its cut and not his face.

  5. Observations on Dress

    Bespoke suit,
    rich hued.
    Dress shirt,
    custom made.
    Silk tie
    precise knot.
    Fine threads.
    Sartorial splendor.

    The wearer,
    lost in shadow.
    Vaguely defined.
    Little more
    than mannequin.
    Non-entity.
    Clothes do not
    make the man.

    #LupertzPoem

  6. He wanted to feel blue
    And hear the way he felt
    Clenched fists and
    Tighter neckties
    Drowning out the sky
    He imagined to be blue
    He wanted to feel blue
    And see the way he felt
    An open book
    Without words
    He wanted to feel blue

    • Congratulations! You are the winner of a Dual/Family membership to The Phillips Collection. Please email contests@phillipscollection.org with “Poetry Challenge” in the subject line to claim your prize. Thank you for participating!
      Amy Wike, The Phillips Collection

  7. Save the Man for a Different Painting

    It’s a fine suit, after all,
    notched lapel, long vest,
    Cerulean sheen.

    The man, a mere suggestion,
    hands of putty,
    a swipe of a head.
    A body, if there were one,
    in motion.

    So let us get back
    to the impatient suit
    not waiting for a man
    to give it purpose.
    A suit passing you
    on the sidewalk,
    a whiff of cedar and spice.
    It whispers
    hushed dining room,
    side entrance,
    embassy chamber with thick walls.

    Save the man for a different painting.
    Ask the tree trunk in mid-air,
    indifferent to the ground.

    • Congratulations! You are the winner of a Dual/Family membership to The Phillips Collection. Please email contests@phillipscollection.org with “Poetry Challenge” in the subject line to claim your prize. Thank you for participating!
      Amy Wike, The Phillips Collection

  8. If life was ekphrastic
    I’d frolic with Renoir bathers
    Not some unknown suit
    Descended from Ichabod Crane

  9. Everyday on his way home
    He takes a few moment to watch her go by
    Everyday makes him hunger more
    But each passing day makes him
    Lose his courage
    Until he can barely stand in fear of being rejected

    Every day the old lay in the park watches the guy
    Watching the girl
    She hopes he will one day get the courage
    She witnesses those moments when he seems to gather himself
    But Alas,
    He shrinks back in fear

    She hopes for the day when he’ll come out of the shadows

  10. Blue 3-piece,
    Sharp as a tack,
    It didn’t matter what he wore.
    He always felt invisible.
    Taken for granted.
    Anonymous.
    Long since being the new hire,
    He hasn’t yet fit in.

  11. Am I still here?
    I think I see my ear.
    My hands are clenched in thought.
    My suit has a sheen of rot.
    Am I here, or am I not?
    How did I get in this position?
    My virtue is sin by omission.
    My style is decomposition.

  12. A man.
    No one knew where he came from.
    No one knew why he didn’t have a head!
    He seemed he was a detective.
    With a trench coat.
    And a background.

    He had a story.
    But what was it?
    No one knew.

    But someone wanted to know
    His story.

    Susie
    West!

  13. He is the walking blues
    in a sharkskin suit
    color of a Jamaican sky
    gaudy for DC
    but not for Memphis
    he’s turned the corner of Beale
    and turned to smoke
    it pours from his perfectly
    pressed collar.

  14. Is the Man in the Blue Suit going to suffer from “Karoshi”? That is, from death by brain and heart ailment, due to overwork.
    Or will it be “Karojishi”? That is, suicide by depression and other mental illness, due to overwork.
    Or will he realize early enough that he has to choose between life and work?
    In a culture in which one’s identity is defined by work, what is one’s identity if you choose life?

  15. With flesh–
    colors and contours, it’s warmth and give–
    wiped away, Men of the city
    are on the man displayed.
    Tailor, Tailor! Divine in your radiant lines and layers,
    the Painter bows low to you
    while granting a small nod
    to the architect.

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