LitVisCult this Thurs: Dr Catherine Gander on Frank O’Hara and Norman Bluhm’s Poem-Paintings

Dear Colleagues,

This is just a reminder that the next session of the Literature and Visual Cultures Research Seminar will take place this Thursday (9th April) from 6.00-7.30pm at Senate House, London, room 261.

We’re very pleased to have Dr. Catherine Gander join us to give a paper entitled, “‘Twenty-six things at once’: Pragmatic perspectives on Frank O’Hara and Norman Bluhm’s Poem-Paintings”

Created over a couple of Sunday mornings in the Fall of 1960, the twenty-six collaborative Poem-Paintings of the artist Norman Bluhm and the poet Frank O’Hara represent what Bluhm later called a spontaneous ‘conversation’ between the painter and the poet. In this talk, Catherine Gander adopts a number of pragmatist positions to reconsider these overlooked works as essential examples of verbal-visual interaction that extend their ‘conversation’ to greet and involve us in a relationship that is at once interpersonal, integrated, and embodied. The works, Gander argues, constitute what John Dewey terms ‘art as experience’; in their back and forth exchange of verbal and visual gesture, abstraction and denotation, the Poem-Paintings are the ‘cumulative continuity’ of ‘the process of living’, dramatizing the shifting, spontaneous and multiple dimensions of interpersonal conversation, and in so doing, indicating a new path toward interconnective and equal exchange between word and image.

Catherine Gander is a lecturer in American Literature and Visual Culture at Queen’s University Belfast. She has published widely on the subject, and her monograph Muriel Rukeyser and Documentary: the Poetics of Connection (Edinburgh, 2013) won the biennial IAAS (Irish Association for American Studies) monograph prize.  Her latest book Mixed Messages: American Correspondences in Visual and Verbal Practices (with Sarah Garland) will be published by Manchester University Press later this year, and she is currently at work on another book, Pragmatic Perspectives on American Avant-Gardes.

For more details and for information about other sessions, see: You can also follow us on Twitter @Litviscult.

We hope to see you at the seminar on Thursday.

Sarah Chadfield and Sophie Oliver

(Royal Holloway, University of London)