after calder.

Alexander Calder, Vertical Foliage (1941)
it's black on black
hanging
swirling slowly

balanced delicately
a mathematical
suspension

of wire & metal
hand made world
twisted & curled

it's a reminder
maybe to know
that we spin

& live
surrounded by
nothing

that movement
is slight & shape
is subtle

to seek out 
light & motion
to look up



12 responses to “after calder.”

  1. Joel, gorgeous poem. The image is perfect, and I see echos of Yeats but in a positive way. “we spin / & live,” these words are perfect order from n the midst of our random world.

    Good to see you here!

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  2. There’s so much beauty in your poem! One thing I’m particularly struck by is your choice of where to end stanzas and start the new ones–I love how some of the stanzas end with the end of a thought, giving readers time to pause and digest the thought, while other stanzas end in the middle of a thought and push readers to hurry to the next stanza. That’s not something I tend to do in my poetry and it makes me want to try it out. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  3. It’s a sign that the list line is “to look up” because that’s what I had to do: look up Calder and find out about this sculptor whose work looks familiar but who would have likely remained unknown to me if not for your poetic nudge. “mathematical suspension” catches my eye and my imagination and helps me find my way in this poem, almost float through it. Thank you, my friend. Whether you intend to or not, you are teaching.

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    • I took a ton of art history as an undergrad, which came in handy when I moved near Houston’s Menil Collection, which has a TON of Calder. I love a work of art that isn’t static!

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  4. Goodness I even loved reading the comments, here. I love that you wrote a poem. I love that you included an image. The stanza ‘it’s a reminder / maybe/ to know we spin” is my favorite, because it gives me that sense of suspension and process, that ever-evolving attitude about life. I am so glad you’re Slicing this year, Joel. Thank you for this moment of calm in my day.

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