A Closer Look at Maps

Jan. 31, 2013

If ever on a map you've pinned the cities, highways and borders you have visited, you have participated in the type of engaged connection with maps some find to be deeply telling.

The UA Poetry Center is presenting an exhibition simply titled, "Maps," to explore ways poets use the concept of the map to create surprising and innovative explorations of space, place and the passage of time.

"What many artists have done is to try and create innovative maps acknowledging how human perceptions contribute to the idea of maps," said Sarah Kortemeier, senior library assistant for the UA Poetry Center. "So maps can help us to approach reality in a fresh way and help chart patterns in our existence."

Opening Feb. 4 and to be on display through April 17, the exhibition is free and open to the public and will be on display at the Poetry Center, located at the Helen S. Schaefer Building, 1508 E. Helen St.

"We're used to seeing roadmaps, but that's not the only thing that can be mapped," Kortemeier "A map is frequently our best attempt to chart a version of reality, which has many forms."

In exploring the poetic uses of the map in books, broadsides and artist books from its collection, the Poetry Center is asking:

What kinds of information can a map communicate?

What in the perceived world is "map-able?"

What are the poetics of the map?

"The topic is so huge," Kortemeier said. "It's dissertation size. I hope it will whet people's appetites to explore because there is such a rich diversity of material out there."

Photo credits (in order, top to bottom): Andrew K. Peterson. "Bonjour Meriwether and the Rabid Maps." Philadelphia: Fact-Simile Editions, 2011. Credit: Sarah Kortemeier; David Hinton. "Detail from Fossil Sky." New York: Archipelago Books, 2004. Credit: Sarah Kortemeier; Denis Wood. "Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas." Los Angeles: Siglio Press, 2010. Credit: Sarah Kortemeier.

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