In 1925, Alfred Stieglitz organized a show called Seven Americans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his gallery, “291″. To support the works selected for the exhibition, he published four writings in the brief catalog, one of which is the poem shown above by artist Arthur Dove. Ann Lee Morgan, in her definitive book Arthur Dove: Life and Work, cites Stieglitz’s response to the poem, which addresses abstraction in art, as “a classic.” Morgan says that Dove occasionally took up poetry but that the poem printed in Seven Americans is the “most successfully constructed.”
April is National Poetry Month! Last year, we explored connections between poetry and our permanent collection. This year, we’re asking you to pick up a pen and create your own found poem.
Found poetry is the practice of taking words and phrases from a selected existing text and rearranging them into a poem. Using our museum, select your source for words. You could use exhibition wall text, labels under paintings throughout the galleries, the text in our welcome brochure, our website, even the blog. You must find all words in your source, even the little ones like “a”, “and”, and “the”. Your poem can be short, like a haiku, long, as in epic, or anything in between. Submit your poems in the comments section below, tell us where your words came from, and some of our favorites will be made in to blog posts.
For more on found poetry, see the Found Poetry Project and the New York Times‘s 3rd Annual Found Poem Student Contest.