Special Issue "The Sister Arts Since 1900: Poetry and the Visual Arts"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Mara Scanlon

Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, University of Mary Washington, 1301 College Avenue, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: poetry and poetics; Modernism; literature of the Great War; ethics and literature; gender and sexuality studies; digital humanities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Authoritative voices have defined poetry and visual art—the “sister arts”—in relation to each other in ways that have even elided their obvious differences. Ut pictura poesis, instructs Horace, for instance: as is painting, so is poetry, a phrase that has been scrutinized, tested, and reduced many times. “Painting,” says Leonardo da Vinci, notwithstanding his clear preference for the visual, “is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” The relation of poetry and visual art to each other, to imitation, mimesis, and the “real,” to pleasure and analysis, to ethics, to the senses, to craft, prompted rich dialogue and debate through at least the eighteenth century but is oddly flagging in contemporary critical conversation, possibly replaced by or transformed into an emphasis on multimodal and multimedia writing.  This issue invites essays on poetry and the visual arts, broadly understood, since 1900. Poetry is commonly analyzed in terms of its relationship to sound (including in technologies of recording and, throughout time, as performance) and may explicitly engage musical form (lyric, ballad, chorus, fugue, hymn meter, jazz, blues, and more); what prompts or what is altered, illuminated, troubled by an alternate affiliation to the visual or tactile? (How) is a visual image distinct from the text on a page, especially when the text is consciously using space? What is gained, lost, transformed when shared discourses of art (image, collage, even triptych, frieze, fresco) are used for both media? Can the two forms ever be fully collaborative or hybrid, become something greater than the sum of their parts, or is one always secondary or dependent? Is the relationship of poetry and visual art primarily formal, or is it also political, ideological, transgressive, or, as Brian Glavey has suggested, queer?

In addition to essays addressing the questions above or similar lines of inquiry, possible topics include but are not limited to: ekphrastic poetry and its opposite, photos or art inspired by poems; illuminated text and the art of the book; illustrated poetry for adults (e.g., William Blake or Stevie Smith) and children; the work of artist-poets (e.g., Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ashbery, Derek Walcott, Sylvia Plath); collaborations between artists and writers (e.g., Frank O’Hara and Larry Rivers, David Guinn and Rita Dove, Robert Creeley’s collaborations, the poetry/art collaborative series by Saturnalia Press); shared theorization and practice of artistic form and purpose (e.g., Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein or Guillaume Apollinaire); installations, exhibits, and volumes that combine poetry and photography/visual art; broadsides; concrete and visual poetry; unique conceptions like the “plastic poetry” of Kansuke Yomomoto or Claudia Rankine’s multigenre and spatially conscious Citizen: An American Lyric.

We welcome essays from both critics and practitioners of the arts.

Prof. Mara Scanlon
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • poetry
  • poetics
  • illustration
  • ekphrasis
  • visual arts
  • photography
  • ut pictura poesis
  • hybridity
  • genre
  • interdisciplinarity

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Humanities EISSN 2076-0787 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top