Art and Poetry Merge on Main Street

Abstract artist Jonathan Pazer's "The Universe Calling" and "Blazing Rose." Photo by Natalie Aguilar.

Art and words met on Main Street in the Roost Studio’s latest exhibition, Artoetry, with its intimate reception and poetry reading held on Sept. 16.

The concept of the exhibition derived from Jim Eve, the founder of Calling All Poets (CAPS), a nonprofit organization that strives “to provide the community with an open and democratic stage, as well as foster future poets and spoken word artists.” After Eve repeatedly saw a specific multimedia work at the Roost, he told director Marcy Bernstein about his interest on writing a poem about the work. 

“He just came up to me and said: ‘I just want you to know, I’m drawn to this painting, every month that we’re here, I’m drawn to it and I’m going to write a poem about it.’ That’s when I knew that poetry could respond to art,” explained Bernstein. 

Vice President of CAPS Glenn Warner expressed that he too had the idea of writing poetry based off artwork, a form of poetry known as ekphrasis, meaning “description” in Greek. Through ekphrasis, the poet may amplify and expand the meaning of an artwork. The Greek word later became the subtitle for the quirky name of the exhibit. 

CAPS has had Roost Studio as their home for about a year now since their move from Beacon, with poetry meetings being held on the first Friday of every month. Both CAPS and the Roost Studio funded this exhibit together which Bernstein called “very special because it’s a collaboration—it’s two different disciplines responding to each other and that is something [the studio] has not tried before.”

In order to make Artoetry happen, Warner and Bernstein created a slideshow featuring works artists submitted for a place in the exhibit and the slides were sent to CAPS poets. Poets inclined to an artist’s work expressed their interest to the artists, which resulted in a collaborative effort between the two. 

The result of the collaboration was displayed on Aug. 31, but it wasn’t until last Saturday that one could actually hear the words of the poets aloud along with meeting the artists themselves. 

“Poetry is always meant to be heard out loud,” said poet and CAPS co-founder Mike Jurkovic. “It allows the listener to reflect on it and creates more of an impact than simply reading the words—you can hear what the poet wants to be heard.”

Jurkovic wrote based off the art of Tom Delooza. For his art, Delooza uses an early photographic method called the collodion wet plate process which requires the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about 15 minutes. The result, Jurkovic thinks, is a timeless style that resembles ancient times. 

“I just fell in love with what he was doing, the figures seem to be locked in and that appealed to me,” Jurkovic said. 

Others chose to write on their own work, such as abstract artist Jonathan Pazer, whose works “The Universe Calling” and “Blazing Rose” were featured in the exhibit. Pazer explained that he likes to write poems based off his own art because it allows him to share the experience he displays in his artwork. Since in fact no one but him could know the true meaning behind the work, he decides to share it himself through his own words. The titles of the poems later become the titles of his work. 

Pazer noted: “I want to share an experiences, the feelings that I portray in my work are my insecurities, my hopes, my surprises.”  

In all, the exhibit features a wide range of artwork such as photography, oil paint and mixed media. The small exhibit allowed for conversation in the reception and reading. The display of poetry and art working together forms a physical bond between the two, allowing the visitor to see the poem as an artwork in itself, simply adding on to where the piece of art left off.

“Ideally, all art, whether it’s visual, poetry, music—if someone is actually putting out something into the world, it’s communication, and for artists, you never really know how your work lands on someone else. It’s interesting to see someone put in words what is so nonverbal,” concluded Bernstein. 

To learn more about the roost and CAP visit: and