September 26, 2008
Poetry or Architecture?
A Metropolis quiz.
Tomorrow morning, architects, poets, and critics will assemble at the Center for Architecture, in Manhattan, for a symposium called “Form and Function: The Intersection of Poetry & Architecture.” In honor of the event, which is cosponsored by Poets House, we’ve assembled quotes from some of the participants, but we’ll leave it for you to determine their subject matter: poetry or architecture? The answers are at the bottom of the page.
1. “Although it did not vanish, the influence of the baroque progressively subsided in the years preceding the concretist phase.”
2. “I, too, would live in a time-capsule of ‘unageing intellect,’ as Yeats wrote of his beloved Byzantium. But—like him—I am unable to do so, and am compelled more and more to live and work in the precise, often painful dimensions of the present.”
3. “Stone and light present antinomies of the relation touch can have to external mass.”
4. “But somehow his insistent non-specificity enacts the concept of the ‘shaping form’ without designating what exact shape that form must take. That is, in order ‘to realize the form’ there must be an interplay of revealing and obscuring. And the actual form that takes shape is less important than the fact of the power to shape it in the first place.”
5. “The Bowery Plan goes something like this: there are explosions and condos arise Las Vegas-like from the smoke.”
6. “It is not entirely coincidental that the igneous aesthetics favored by both Gladkov and Sanchez Fogarty were grounded in cement.”
7. “I am cement and I defy comparisons.”
Cosponsored by Poets House, “Form and Function” will be held on Saturday, September 27, at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, (212) 683-0023.
Answers: 1. poetry (A. S. Bessa, from Novas: Selected Writing); 2. architecture (Lebbeus Woods, from Lebbeus Woods); 3. poetry (Susan Stewart, Poetry and the Fate of the Senses); 4. poetry (Gregg Biglieri, from “Medium Coleridge: Thinking the Relation in-between Poet and Critic”); 5. poetry (Brenda Coultas, from A Handmade Museum); 6. architecture (Rubén Gallo, Mexican Modernity); 7. both (Federico Sanchez Fogarty, as quoted in Gallo’s Mexican Modernity)