Richibi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Category: Edward Hopper

“Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad” (1925) – Edward Hirsch‏

"House by the Railroad" (1925) - Edward Hopper

House by the Railroad (1925)

Edward Hopper


Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad (1925)

Out here in the exact middle of the day,
This strange, gawky house has the expression
Of someone being stared at, someone holding
His breath underwater, hushed and expectant;

This house is ashamed of itself, ashamed
Of its fantastic mansard rooftop
And its pseudo-Gothic porch, ashamed
of its shoulders and large, awkward hands.

But the man behind the easel is relentless.
He is as brutal as sunlight, and believes
The house must have done something horrible
To the people who once lived here

Because now it is so desperately empty,
It must have done something to the sky
Because the sky, too, is utterly vacant
And devoid of meaning. There are no

Trees or shrubs anywhere–the house
Must have done something against the earth.
All that is present is a single pair of tracks
Straightening into the distance. No trains pass.

Now the stranger returns to this place daily
Until the house begins to suspect
That the man, too, is desolate, desolate
And even ashamed. Soon the house starts

To stare frankly at the man. And somehow
The empty white canvas slowly takes on
The expression of someone who is unnerved,
Someone holding his breath underwater.

And then one day the man simply disappears.
He is a last afternoon shadow moving
Across the tracks, making its way
Through the vast, darkening fields.

This man will paint other abandoned mansions,
And faded cafeteria windows, and poorly lettered
Storefronts on the edges of small towns.
Always they will have this same expression,

The utterly naked look of someone
Being stared at, someone American and gawky.
Someone who is about to be left alone
Again, and can no longer stand it.

Edward Hirsch


Edward Hopper seems to have had
a profound influence on American
poets, this is the third poem around
one of his paintings I’ve encountered,
one by Joyce Carol Oates, a great lady
of not only poetry but of letters, having
been prolific in all literary forms, in each
nothing short of exemplary, another by
Brice Maiurro
, a budding poet of the
greatest, to my mind, merit, of whom
we will surely hear more if there is any
poetic justice

you can read about both of them right
in my blog, or just click their
individual names above

Edward Hirsch, by the way, stands
no less tall here, I submit, than the
other two in this coveted company


“EDWARD HOPPER*” – Brice Maiurro‏


Nighthawks (1942)

Edward Hopper


here‘s another gem from Brice Maiurro, of which
there are many, too many to daily share, I’d
sound like too much of an addled fan, or worse,
an unbridled sycophant, though soon that might
be already too late

I’ll commend you rather to his rich and growing
website, FLASHLIGHT CITY BLUES, ardently

the following poem ‘s to do with Edward Hopper,
remember Edward Hopper, for the sake of, nudge,
nudge, always revelatory comparison

EDWARD HOPPER*” is an ekphrastic poem

ekphrasis is poetry about art,
that’s where I got my formal start,
my poetry is still trying to sprout
wings under my perhaps too literal prose




*based on the notes of American artist Edward Hopper and his wife Jo

+ brilliant interior of
cheap restaurant.

Bright items:

cherry wood counter
+ tops of surrounding
stools; light on metal tanks
at rear right;

brilliant streak
of jade green tiles
3/4 across canvas-
at base of glass
curving around the

Light walls,

into kitchen right.

Very good looking
blond boy
in white (coat, cap)
inside counter.

Girl in red blouse,

brown hair

eating sandwich.

Man night hawk
in dark suit,
steel grey hat,
black band,
blue shirt (clean)
holding cigarette.

Other figure
at left.

Light side walk
pale greenish.

Darkish red brick
house opposite.

Sign across
top of restaurant,
Phillies 5c cigar.

Picture of cigar.

Outside of shop dark,

bit of bright
inside shop

against dark of
outside street

-at edge
of stretch
of top
of window.

Brice Maiurro

Edward Hopper’s “11 A.M.,” 1926 – Joyce Carol Oates‏

Eleven A.M. - Edward Hopper

Eleven A.M.” (1926)

Edward Hopper


we’ve come a long way from Elizabeth Barrett Browning
in this contemporary poem – from the New Yorker, August
27, 2012 – we are no longer Romantics



Edward Hopper’s “11 A.M.,” 1926

She’s naked yet wearing shoes.
Wants to think nude. And happy in her body.

Though it’s a fleshy aging body. And her posture
in the chair—leaning forward, arms on knees,
staring out the window—makes her belly bulge,
but what the hell.

What the hell, he isn’t here.

Lived in this damn drab apartment at Third Avenue,
Twenty-third Street, Manhattan, how many
damn years, has to be at least fifteen. Moved to the city
from Hackensack, needing to breathe.

She’d never looked back. Sure they called her selfish,
cruel. What the hell, the use they’d have made of her,
she’d be sucked dry like bone marrow.

First job was file clerk at Trinity Trust. Wasted
three years of her young life waiting
for R.B. to leave his wife and wouldn’t you think
a smart girl like her would know better?

Second job also file clerk but then she’d been promoted
to Mr. Castle’s secretarial staff at Lyman Typewriters. The
least the old bastard could do for her and she’d
have done a lot better except for fat-face Stella Czechi.

Third job, Tvek Realtors & Insurance and she’s
Mr. Tvek’s private secretary: What would I do
without you, my dear one?

As long as Tvek pays her decent. And he doesn’t
let her down like last Christmas, she’d wanted to die.

This damn room she hates. Dim-lit like a region of the soul
into which light doesn’t penetrate. Soft-shabby old furniture
and sagging mattress like those bodies in dreams we feel
but don’t see. But she keeps her bed made
every God-damned day, visitors or not.

He doesn’t like disorder. He’d told her how he’d learned
to make a proper bed in the U.S. Army in 1917.

The trick is, he says, you make the bed as soon as you get up.

Detaches himself from her as soon as it’s over. Sticky skin,
hairy legs, patches of scratchy hair on his shoulders, chest,
belly. She’d like him to hold her and they could drift into
sleep together but rarely this happens. Crazy wanting her, then
abruptly it’s over—he’s inside his head,
and she’s inside hers.

Now this morning she’s thinking God-damned bastard, this has
got to be the last time. Waiting for him to call to explain
Why he hadn’t come last night. And there’s the chance
he might come here before calling, which he has done more than once.
Couldn’t keep away. God, I’m crazy for you.

She’s thinking she will give the bastard ten more minutes.

She’s Jo Hopper with her plain redhead’s face stretched
on this fleshy female’s face and he’s the artist but also
the lover and last week he came to take her
out to Delmonico’s but in this dim-lit room they’d made love
in her bed and never got out until too late and she’d overheard
him on the phone explaining—there’s the sound of a man’s voice
explaining to a wife that is so callow, so craven, she’s sick
with contempt recalling. Yet he says he has left his family, he
loves her.

Runs his hands over her body like a blind man trying to see. And
the radiance in his face that’s pitted and scarred, he needs her in
the way a starving man needs food. Die without you. Don’t
leave me.

He’d told her it wasn’t what she thought. Wasn’t his family
that kept him from loving her all he could but his life
he’d never told anyone about in the war, in the infantry,
in France. What crept like paralysis through him.
Things that had happened to him, and things
that he’d witnessed, and things that he’d perpetrated himself
with his own hands. And she’d taken his hands and kissed them,
and brought them against her breasts that were aching like the
breasts of a young mother ravenous to give suck,
and sustenance. And she said No. That is your old life.
I am your new life.

She will give her new life five more minutes.

Joyce Carol Oates