top of page

Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh...

...with a little help from W.H. Auden.

We're introducing a new feature at HITH - found poetry.

Poetry happens. Written images in magazines, newspapers, letters, advertising, graffiti, email, texts, Facebook posts, and (dare we say?) Twitter posts.

Sometimes the poetry is fully-formed as-is. And sometimes it can be reformatted.

For example, Vincent Van Gogh was a compulsive letter-writer. The poet W.H. Auden found the letters compelling, writing "...there is scarcely one letter by Van Gogh which I, who am certainly no expert, do not find fascinating,"in the Foreword to Van Gogh: A Self Portrait, Letters Revealing His Life as a Painter - a volume of letters Auden selected.

One could almost turn to any page and find poetry, for example:

From a Letter to Theo*

Vincent Van Gogh, The Hague,

September 3, 1882

Behind those saplings, behind that brownish-red soil,

is a sky very delicate, bluish-gray, warm, hardly blue,

all aglow - and against it all is a hazy border of green

and a network of little stems and yellowish leaves.

A few figures of wood gatherers are wandering around

like dark masses of mysterious shadows.

The white cap of a woman bending to reach a dry branch

stands out suddenly against the deep red-brown of the ground.

A skirt catches the light - a shadow is cast -

a dark silhouette of a man appears above the underbrush.

A white bonnet, a cap, a shoulder, the bust of a woman

molds itself against the sky. Those figures are large

and full of poetry - in the twilight of that deep shadowy tone

they appear as enormous terracottas being modeled in a studio.

*found and reformatted from - Vincent Van Gogh: A Self Portrait, Letters Revealing

His Life as a Painter, selected by W.H. Auden

Keep your eyes and ears out and when you find poetry, send it our way,


bottom of page