By Ethan Shea
On Nov. 4, Falvey Library will be co-sponsoring two events that explore the artistic potential of birds and birdwatching. A writing workshop with Nathalie Anderson, a Philadelphia poet who recently retired from Swarthmore College, will give attendees opportunities to consider the various ways of putting visual observations of these spirited creatures into words. This exercise will be supplemented by discussions of pictures and videos of birds.
A second event will celebrate the publication of a book titled Birds of North America. This book will be displayed at The Drawing Room in Philadelphia with images by Susan Hagen and poems by Nathalie Anderson and Lisa Sewell, who will all attend the event.
The first event will take place at 4 p.m. in SAC 300, and the second will occur at 6 p.m. in Falvey Library, room 205. Both will take place on Nov. 4.
To prepare for the upcoming festivities, I’ve provided a few links for those who want to dig deeper into the intersections of birds and art. In addition to literature regarding birds and bird-concerned artists, I’ve found some images of birds, all available in Villanova’s Digital Library, that will get your creative juices flowing.
These archives give curious readers the opportunity to explore anything and everything about Emily Dickinson. Her poem A Bird, came down the Walk is one of the most famous examples of bird-inspired poetry. In fact, the upcoming writing workshop is named after this piece of literature!
This poem by Edgar Allan Poe is another well known example of bird poetry. Published in 1845, The Raven is an incredibly eerie piece, giving a very different impression of bird imagery than Emily Dickinson.
Michael Warren’s book, Birds in Medieval English Poetry, takes readers back to the Medieval Ages in his discussion of birds as symbols in Medieval texts. The relationship between the poems Warren studies and the natural world is highly debated in this piece.
Here is a list of pictures and paintings of birds available for viewing in Falvey’s Digital Library:
Susan Hagen’s website is another great resource for bird images. I encourage you to check it out!
Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.