Week 26- Heather Ouellette-Cygan

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Heather Ouellette-Cygan, Week 26

A Broad Stroke

This poem is a work in progress, and I don’t think it currently rises much above the label of “doggerel.” It was inspired one morning when I was reading a review of the “Degas and the Nude” exhibit currently showing at the MFA in Boston. I was excited to take Zoë to see works by one of her favorite artists, Edgar Degas, imaging bronze statues of ballerinas and robust women stepping out of claw-footed bathtubs; however, when I read that many of his sketches included women in “shockingly carnal acts,” I wondered about taking my young daughter to an exhibit when descriptions of some of the sketches revealed that, at least at the time in which Degas first created them, many were considered to cross the line between “art” and “pornography” – where ever that line may be.


Never the less, the exhibit has been called, “One of the most electrifying exhibitions to open in Boston for years,” and I can’t wait to go. And I will most likely take Zoë, since we’re not usually big fans of censorship in our house. Afterwards, I intend to revisit this poem, or perhaps answer it in another one.


Let me know what you think. And here is a link to information about the exhibit:


Perhaps a TGAP field trip is in order?

A Broad Stroke


Would you find it odd to see,

Degas create pornography?

Beneath ballerinas in dancer’s dress,

Legs spread reveal a pubic tress.


The review says Edgar painted

“shockingly carnal acts” that tainted;

Bronze, charcoal and paper textured

His work evidence of fingers’ dexterity,


When to the left of a museum peep

Reel show, trench-coat men seep below,

[pimped-out popcorn buckets in tow]

And cross the line at night between

Art and something not so black and white.


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