Our day began with a wonderful short introduction to the literary landscape of New York from the perspective of New Yorker Professor Nicholas Birns, an actual American specialist in Australian Literature and author of Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead Sydney University Press.Nicholas is now on the academic staff of NYU New York University. Nicholas has such a lively awareness of so much that is going on in the New York literary scene. We plan to build him in more officially next time we do this unit. Here are a few moments of his gracious, informative talk:
Link to Edith Warton (who stayed at our hotel: The Woolcort)
We then hot-footed it down to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) where we had a tour planned to take us around the art of the mid-twentieth century with its connections to the poetry and fiction of New York. As we know Frank O’Hara worked at the MOMA and was deeply influenced by both Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning. We had a fabulously insightful tour which helped us to see how Frank O’Hara and John Ashberry were drawn into writing a kind of poetry that was less about crystalizing a specific meaning, more about generating a moment of experience in the way that the artists of the New York School of Painters produced their work.
Sadly I was not permitted to record these talks today, but the MOMA does have a wonderful resource, where nearly all the paintings that we saw today can be accessed, together with the audio and text introductions to their work. Here is a short list of the links that I created today in my tour around the gallery. I suggest strongly that if you go there again in some of your free time, you get a free audio tour which permits you to email details about each painting to yourself. Here is the result of my tour which contains links to all the paintings I visited, together with the audio and text components. What an amazingly useful tool this is!!