Sherwin Bitsui and Paisley Rekdal: Ten Americans: After Paul Klee at The Phillips Collection

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 6:30 pm
The Phillips Collection


The author of two volumes, Flood Song and Shapeshift, Sherwin Bitsui has been noted for his poetry that “returns things to their basic elements and voice in flowing language rife with illuminating images” (Library Journal). The recipient of a Whiting Award, an American Book Award, and the PEN Book Award, he is Diné (Navaho) of the Todí­ch’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tlizí­laaní­ (Many Goats Clan).

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, a photo-text memoir, and four books of poetry including Animal Eye, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. Her newest book of poems is Imaginary Vessels, and a book-length essay, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam, is forthcoming. She is the current Poet Laureate of Utah.

A reading in response to the exhibition Ten Americans: After Paul Klee
This exhibition explores the seminal role of Swiss-born artist Paul Klee (1879–1940) in the development of mid-20th-century American art, featuring work by Klee in dialogue with ten American artists including Adolph Gottlieb, Norman Lewis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, and Jackson Pollock.

From Vessels

could be so roughly
handled and yet feel

so little, your pity
turned into part of this
production: you

with your small,
four-chambered heart,
shyness, hungers, envy: what

could be so precious
you’d cleave
another to keep it

close? Imagine
the weeks it takes to wind
nacre over the red

seed placed at the other
heart’s mantle…

Excerpt from “Vessels” from Imaginary Vessels by Paisley Rekdal © 2016, published by Copper Canyon Press. Used with permission.

Co-sponsored with The Phillips Collection and Kundiman, an organization that supports and sustains Asian-American poetry.