Lorraine O’Grady (American, born 1934)
letterpress printing on Japanese paper, cut-out, collage on laid paper
41 3/4 x 30 in. (106.05 x 76.2 cm)
Museum Purchase, Barbara Cooney Porter Fund, 2020.24. © Lorraine O’Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“This could be the permanent rebellion that lasts a lifetime/ Calling a halt to the universe because life doesn’t wait/The savage is loose where we are.”
From June 5 to November 20, 1977, O’Grady scanned the Sunday Times for material for her shaped poems featuring headlines from the newspaper. The poems she would assemble became reflections of the culture present in New York, crafted in such a way to speak to social and racial issues of the time. O’Grady revisited the series in 2017 to create Cutting Out CONYT, twenty-six new works composed of haiku diptychs. This example is representative of the larger series, which explores themes of identity, rebellion, and philosophy. The works underscore O’Grady’s attention to create “counter-confessional” poetry that would express personal thoughts and ideas through the public language found in the New York Times.