Poetic Imagery

Essay by bellecabalCollege, Undergraduate November 2014

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Isabel Cabal August 19, 14


Schuyler, O'Hara, and Wieners on Imagery and Painters

The New York School consists of both painters and poets whose works were hitched on a common sail: movement. Abstract expressionist art is visceral by nature, according to MoMA. There are no distinguishable figures, only the movement of the artist; the aggression or suppleness of application on canvas. In the time of the Cold War where the government has set an oppressive atmosphere against communist sympathizers, abstract expressionism became a bid at freedom. As for the poets, having been exposed to such art and jazz music, their poems also took a jab at the rules of modern poetry and all traditions before it. The New York School poets have adapted the musicality of jazz, the spontaneity in transitions translated as silence on the page through enjambment. They have also taken to surrealism, aside from abstract expressionism.

Through surrealism, they have managed to juxtapose domestic or urban sensibilities with abstract concepts of existentialism and the questioning of reality. Through abstract expressionism, the poems of Schuyler for example, situate you in the experience either through the physical form of the poem as Poets.org points out using the poem "Flashes" by showing how the shape of the poem itself mimics that of the Chrysler Building's, or through the interruptions of images that change the mood as well, subverting the development of one poetic narrative with another as in his poem "Korean Mums".

Using the aforementioned poem, we see that Schuyler begins with the image of the chrysanthemums, and how the persona engages with the garden where the flowers belong to. The quick subversion of this thought through the introduction of the owl and its death, followed by the persona's engagement with the event, shifts the moods, not...