The Question: Inspiration

Is there a visual artist whose work inspires you?Rauschenberguntitle52

I think that for me the love of art and literature are very much intertwined.  Which is not to say that I write directly about paintings or sculptures–I don’t usually do that–but I am transported by art just as I am by poetry. 

I tend to move through phases (some might say obsessions) with different artists.  There was Paul Klee, Louise Nevelson, Stuart Davis, and Richard Diebenkorn.  Their work still moves me, but I move on.  I like to read their letters and diaries if they’re published.  Sometimes I even prefer an artist’s take on the creative process to a fellow writer’s. 

The featured artRrglaciallithographist for this post on this blog hoy dia is Robert Rauschenberg.  His work really does inspire me.  I like the visibility of his process in the final product.  I like the combination of language and symbol, collage and painting.  I like the way his work changes across the years as he moves through time.  Living in his native Texas, I’ve gotten many great chances to see his work, even though it is probably better known and appreciated elsewhere. 

Categorized as Art


  1. I don’t know enough about visual art. However, when I was in Chicago for AWP last spring, I was blown away by some of the impressionist and post-impressionist stuff at the AI Museum there. I scribbled names all over my “program” but can’t find it now. Some of the little sketches impressed me quite a bit—& I have Dali prints all over my house. Dali & Klimt, mostly.
    I’d go back to Chicago in a heartbeat for another trip to that museum. It was fabulous. So many beginnings of words come from these small brushstrokes, small careful brushstrokes.

  2. I really enjoy reading about the relationship between Gertrude Stein and Picasso in the “Autobiography of Alice…” and also in “Picasso.”

  3. I am not very knowledgable about visual art, in terms of various artists and artistic movements, but I adore musems. I have a membership to the MFA in Boston and find that spending a few hours there really fills me up creatively when I’m feeling tapped out.
    My favorite spot there is called the “Temple Room” in the Asian Art wing. It’s this exremely quiet, dim, room with several life-size or bigger Buddhist statues–two or three of Dainichi, I think one of Amida, and few mean-looking guardian statues. I told my husband that I could live in there with a cot and a hot plate. It’s so peaceful

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