More on Vivo: Painting by Warren Keating & Poem by Miriam Sagan


The paintings of Warren Keating, a repeat participant in the show, are typically based on videos he takes of people from above while standing on bridges or balconies, often people walking or riding bikes. This year, he gave Santa Fe writer Miriam Sagan an oil painting from a still photo he took of a boy face down in a San Antonio hotel swimming pool years ago.

Sagan made a narrative poem about the boy’s backstory and internal dialogue. In her piece, he is seven years old and afraid of the older kids who earlier wanted to throw him into the pool. He jumped in on his own to do a “dead man’s float,” and thinks:

beneath the rippled surface,

the legs of other swimmers,

I see the city

I’ve always known was there,

of coral towers

with pearl windows

house of peacock shimmer


with roof of oyster shell


“It interprets the work in that my work tends to be getting people to rediscover how amazing the everyday moment is,” says Keating. “The poem looks at just the image of the kid and creates this whole story and fleshes out what the imagination would come up with.”

Sagan notes that in a way, what Keating is trying to display with his images is what creating poetry and art itself is all about.

“Most of our experience is mundane,” says Sagan. “A peak experience is great, but it’s far and few between. Art, and I’m including writing in that, eliminates the mundane. It lets it live on an extra level.”

“Giving Voice to Image 6” opening reception is tonight at 5 p.m. The poets will read their work at additional events March 30 and April 20.

Vivo Gallery Opening on Canyon Road

725 Canyon Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Giving Voice To Image
A collaboration of New Mexico Artists and Poet

March 14 through May 15, 2018

Opening Reception Friday, March 16, 2018 from 5-7pm

Also please add to your calendars two very special evenings of

Friday, March 30, 5:30pm
Friday, April 20, 5:30pm

ViVO Contemporary continues a grand tradition of poet-artist collaboration with our 6th annual “Giving Voice to Image” show where eleven New Mexico poets joined with our eleven gallery artists respond to and describe their experience of one of the works in the show.

Poetry and art have been wedded in the critical mind for centuries. Contemporary poet Mary Ruefle observes, “A painting and a poem inhabit a different time frame than a story. They are both momentary inhabiters – inhabiters of the moment”. There has long been a kinship between poets and visual artists, and some of the best poetry (known as ekphrastic poetry) has directly responded to works of art, translating their themes, colors, structure, and textures into words.

Some interesting questions arise as we contemplate the relationship between the poem and the visual art. Is the poem simply an objective verbal description of the work of art, or does the poet make conclusions about what the painting or sculpture means? Could you reconstruct the work from the poem without actually seeing it? Why does the poet dwell on some features of the work of art and ignore other aspects of the image? Do you agree with the meaning the poet “reads” in the artwork, or do you think the writer misreads it or warps the scene depicted to personal ends?

An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description or interpretation of a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

Poetry is a form of language that has something that can’t be possessed or definitively located, and whose existence (to steal a phrase from André Breton) is always elsewhere.

“Let the poet show the powerful associative way word art works in relation to visual art”.


Jeanne Simonoff

Canyon Road is covered with snow.
Dead of winter comes alive inside.
Parallel lives gather in a room of images.

Describe your dream.
Colors, sounds, what comes first, the vision.
The phrases, letters dancing
a dream of color defies words
A shape that is at the same time.

When did the marriage of word and imagine begin:
Late night. Early morning
Crowning. Coming out whole or incomplete.
Our stories visit at night when we go home.
Your visions talk to each other on the walls.

We are all dreamers of the same dream.
You may know what lies ahead
or do you, like me,
long to find those pieces
that fit in the score,
the orchestration of our lives.