Enjoyed Simon Pettet's talk & reading for the Analogous Series this Friday. Bill Corbett gave a great introduction in which he talked about Simon's help with his work on the Schuyler letters. He called Simon a scholar -- "not an academic, but a scholar -- one who tells us things we want to know, and things we would not have known otherwise." I had prepared about 20 slides for the event, including paintings/portraits of Schuyler and co., as well as images from Talking Pictures, Simon's collaboration with photographer Rudy Burckhardt. Simon used these as a backdrop while discussing the phenomenon of poets writing about art -- what Rudy Burckhardt called "parallel poetry." The well-documented talk (which included plenty of good quotes and evidence) used Fairfield Porter's haunting question: "Who likes to read art criticism?" as a jumping-off point to discuss the ways in which art writing might be useful, to the poet and to others. And I think he ultimately answered it well...to the point of actually finding another quote from Porter which stated that "A review can be at best a parallel creation, its subject being the nature of the painting or sculpture. Criticism creates an analogy, and by examining an analogy you see what the art essentially is" (referring back to the name of the series). Another highlight of the night was when Pettet segued from theory into practice, reading a poem he wrote in response to a painting by Albert Pinkham Ryder (and employing his charming trademark repetition -- Simon usually reads the same poem twice in a row). There are some interesting themes developing here that I will need to think about more, but suffice to say that for the moment, I am finding myself smack in the middle of what interests me most, and it is a very exciting place to be.