Exhibition Object Label

In the Afflict the Comfortable exhibition, June 27 - October 4, 2015, Chris After Hours of Spitting Food Dye Outdoors was paired with the following words by Seamus Heaney:

Sometimes I think that the thing I want to hear is not even sought after. This is very generalized, but let’s say that the American cadence and the American ear tends to run to the edge of the page. It tends to be fluid and spread. Whereas my predisposition and my prejudice is toward poetry that contains and practices force within a confined area. Therefore I suppose I can understand immediately the aims of the poetry of someone like Elizabeth Bishop or James Merrill. I’m not saying Merrill writes like a European; but he operates within a defined enclosure, a writer who has been true to his gift. His gift was always for a kind of figure-skating joy and he never abandoned that figure-cutting discipline. The danger of that kind of writing is that it can remain weightless—and the other danger is that a writer with that gift may deliberately seek to import heaviness. Merrill did not groan into heaviness, which would have been an offense against his nevertheless good aesthetic manners. But by remaining true to himself, he accrued weight.

— Seamus Heaney

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