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At Sea: In Word and Image

A fascinating pairing of art history and poetry, At Sea offers a new vision of the mystery, danger, and beauty of the ocean and the horizon, engaging with this eternal topic like never before.

For millennia we have been in awe of the sea: sometimes enigmatically placid, sometimes jagged with sudden storms. In response to one of art’s most compelling subjects, At Sea presents more than sixty works dating from the nineteenth century to the present, from Gustave Courbet and J. M. W. Turner to Georgia O’Keeffe, Raymond Pettibon, and Cy Twombly. These works differ in media and approach, but together ask social, political, and environmental questions that resonate forcefully today. 
 
Interspersed throughout are poems by two highly acclaimed writers and voices of our time, Valzhyna Mort and Ishion Hutchinson, who bring their own personal experiences of the sea. Mort grew up in Minsk, the capital city of land-locked Belarus. She remembers as a child crying herself to sleep with a photograph of the ocean in her hands. Ishion Hutchinson was raised on the waters of the Caribbean sea. Together, this unique combination of words and images remind us that the sea, a constant throughout the ages, is also always an urgent portrait of our time. 

Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He is the author of two poetry collections: Far District (2010) and House of Lords and Commons (2016). He is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, the Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among others. He is a contributing editor to the literary journals The Common and Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art and teaches in the graduate writing program at Cornell University.

Valzhyna Mort is the author of Factory of Tears (2008) and Collected Body (2011). She has received the Lannan Foundation Fellowship, the Bess Hokins Prize for Poetry, the Amy Clampitt Fellowship, and the Burda Prize for Eastern European authors. With Ilya Kaminsky and Katie Farris, Mort coedited Gossip and Metaphysics: Russian Modernist Poems and Prose (2014). Born in Minsk, Belarus, she teaches at Cornell University. Her new book in Belarusian, Rose Pandemic, came out in Minsk in May.