scribere and donuts at notre dame college, october 21, 2016


img_7126gel pens, dark paper, red vessel, and glazed donuts (the last item provided by my hosts)… integral components of my visit to notre dame college’s creative writing club this afternoon.  sharing information about the confluence of poetry and visual art with the student writers, and then inviting them to participate in my scribere project… what a delight!!

over the next week, i will photograph the inscriptions contributed by this group today, and share the poems that the students wrote during our time together.

because the primary installation of scribere is currently on view in the college’s performing arts center gallery – two floors below the room in which we were meeting today – i brought the red vessel as a surrogate. i think that it looks so at home among the donuts!


a few useful links to resources on the integration of visual art and poetry:

“The Book of Kells: Medieval Europe’s Greatest Treasure?” by Martha Kearney for the BBC, is a beautifully illustrated and captivating tale of what is arguably one of the world’s most glorious artistic treasures, and the Celtic monks who created it:

“Connections/Poetry,” a very good short slideshow from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which gives an overview of the relationship between visual art and poetry in the East and West:

“Demo of Manuscript Illumination,” a YouTube video of artist Valerie Weilmuenster’s demonstration of the techniques for painting sacred manuscripts, in conjunction with the exhibition “Hidden Treasures: Illuminated Manuscripts in Midwestern Collections” at the Chazen Museum of Art (from Wisconsin Public Radio):

“Ekphrastic Poetry,” a comprehensive online examination of the practice of writing poems in response to works of art, with evocative examples, from the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College in Lynchberg, Virginia:

“Ekphrastic Poetry Lesson” from the Smithsonian Institution, an online resource with instructions, images to use as inspiration, and an observation worksheet:

“Interactive Poetic Garden,” a short and fascinating article about a digital project at the MIT Media Library:

“Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Illuminated Manuscripts,” a 128-page, beautifully illustrated book of medieval and Renaissance illuminations (many of them from sacred manuscripts) is available to read online or download as a PDF file:

“The River, an Installation by Charles Sandison” at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, France, is an excellent example of the use of digital projection to immerse museum visitors in a stream of words:
“A foreword by Charles Sandison” can be found here:
and Charles Sandison’s fascinating website is here:

“Three Perfections: Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art” (essay) from The National Gallery of Victoria (Australia) is a beautiful introduction to the integration of these three expressive forms in Chinese art:

“Three Perfections: Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art” (introduction) from The National Gallery of Victoria (Australia) presents a small selection of images in which each of the Three Perfections is integral to the whole. These images, from a 2013/2014 exhibition, are accompanied by translations – breathtaking in their evocative use of language – of poetic elements within a few of the paintings:

“The Way, a spiritual path” by Kim Hoa Tram, 2005, illustrates the interplay among the Three Perfections of Chinese Art in a way that a Western audience might especially appreciate:

Challenge to blog visitors: can you write an ekphrastic poem about  “The title page of St John’s Gospel” in the Book of Kells, “The River” by Charles Sandison, or “The Way, a spiritual path” by Kim Hoa Tram? The links are above. If you accept the challenge, please post your ekphrastic poem in a (moderated) comment below.



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