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General Events

Geometry of Shadows


Thursday, December 12 | 7:00 p.m. Tibor de Nagy Gallery, 11 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002

Join A Public Space and The Flow Chart Foundation for a reading and discussion of Geometry of Shadows, Stefania Heim’s translations of Giorgio de Chirico’s Italian poems. With Stefania Heim and poet-critic John Yau in conversation with Jeffrey Lependorf, executive director of The Flow Chart Foundation.

His language, like his painting, is invisible: a transparent but dense medium containing objects that are more real than reality.
—John Ashbery

De Chirico's poems are as essential and as mysterious as his paintings.
—Jhumpa Lahiri

The multifaceted artist Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978), considered the founder of the metaphysical school of art, and a significant influence on the surrealists, lived in multiple languages. Born in Greece to Italian parents, de Chirico was just becoming famous in France for the paintings that inspired surrealism, when he returned to Italy in 1916 to enlist for the First World War. Quickly determined unfit for the front line, de Chirico was assigned to desk duty. He began to write poems in his native language, translating his iconic visual imagination into literary form.

De Chirico first became more widely known to English language readers as a writer by way of John Ashbery (1927–2017), who found great inspiration in de Chirico’s writing in French and translated parts of de Chirico’s novel Hebdomeros in the journal Arts & Letters. Ashbery subsequently translated some of de Chirico’s French poems. Now, with Geometry of Shadows—the first comprehensive collection of the artist’s Italian writing in English translation—the full breadth of de Chirico’s art can be experienced in English, fully recognizing him as a poet as much as a painter. Geometry of Shadows includes a number of Italian poems in which de Chirico reimagined some of those earlier poems originally written in French, allowing a rare glimpse into the development of de Chirico as a poet.

Reservations are not required, but recommended. They can be made here.

This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Stefania Heim

received a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work on Giorgio de Chirico. A founding editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation, she is the author of the poetry collections Hour Book and A Table that Goes On for Miles. She lives in Washington.

John Yau

is an American poet and critic who lives in New York City. He received his BA from Bard College in 1972 and his MFA from Brooklyn College in 1978. He has published over fifty books of poetry, artists' books, fiction, and art criticism.v

Jeffrey Lependorf

serves as the executive director of The Flow Chart Foundation, which explores the interrelationships of various art forms as guided by the legacy of American poet John Ashbery and promotes engagement with his work.

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