Arthur Sze

Posted in 2023-2024 Readings and Talks

Arthur Sze Headshot

September 19, 2023 at 7:00PM ET

Location: Riggs Library

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by September 12th to Patricia Guzman, 202-687-6294, A good faith effort will be made to fulfill requests made after September 12th.

Architect’s Watercolor

–Arthur Sze

An architect draws a watercolor

depicting two people about to enter

a meeting room, while someone

on the stairway gazes through windows

at a park, river, skyscrapers beyond;

he does not want to be locked

like a carbon atom in a benzene ring

but needs to rotate, lift off,

veer along wharves and shoreline.

In the acoustics of this space,

he catches a needle bounce

off a black granite floor, wanders

from a main walkway, encounters

prickly pear burned purple in wind.

In the ocean gusts before dawn,

he yearns for a Mediterranean spray

where sunlight tingles eyelashes,

where sand releases heat

under the stars. In the atrium,

two violinists launch fireworks

of sound that arc, explode, dissolve

into threads of melodic charm.

Here slate near a pool of water

absorbs sunlight, releases ripples

into the evening; and in this space,

each minute is encounter:

he steps out and makes

footprints on a sidewalk dusted with snow.

From Poetry (October 2021).

Read more about Arthur Sze.

Watch the Reading