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Talk about language arts: poem + art pairings for Poetry Month

USE YOUR WORDS by Paper Jam Press

Like art, writing’s been one of the liferafts we’ve climbed aboard to keep ourselves afloat during quarantine. For its brevity, poetry is especially equipped to calm—we’re hard-pressed to pay attention to anything for more than a few minutes at the moment. (Raise your hand if that resonates.) A poem offers concentration and concision, clarity and elasticity, relief and reinforcement, and it doesn’t require hours of uninterrupted reading. It’s a low-commitment luxury as undemanding as looking at a piece of art. Plus, there’s so much magnificent poetry out there you’ll have plenty of fodder for 5-min post-Zoom brain breaks. And wouldn’t ya know? It’s National Poetry Month!

To celebrate, we’re reviving our long-running tradition of pairing poems + art. (You might have seen last year’s matchmaking.) Every poem we picked is sourced from—one of our favorite resources for a little literary respite—paired with 20x200 art, and presented as a couple without comment. If we’ve learned anything from Good Writing 101, it’s show, don’t tell. So we’re letting these pairs speak for themselves.

Read/see all our poetry + art power duos below. Then we recommend you take a stab at some pairings yourself—the process is weirdly satisfying and strangely addictive. Quite frankly, it’s fun as hell.

With art for everyone,
Team 20x200

Paired: Matthew Hoffman + Robert Creeley



Paired: Jorge Colombo + Georgia Douglas Johnson



Paired: Michelle Arcila + Robert Frost



Paired: Yen Ha + Ada Limón



Paired: William Wegman + Joe Brainard



Paired: Hilma af Klint + Herman Melville



Paired: Paper Jam Press + W.S. Merwin



Paired: A 20x200 Vintage Edition + William Carlos Williams



Paired: Amy Casey + Maya Angelou



Paired: Ariel Lee + Marion Strobel