As part of her 1998 residency, poet Ann Lauterbach presented an Eye of the Beholder lecture called How the Eye Listens. She discussed works of visual art, old and new, that she had explored through her poems. Her wide-ranging sensibility responded to works as different as paintings by Simone Martini, Matisse, Picasso, Robert Ryman, Bill Jensen, and Ellen Phelan; photographs by Jan Groover; and drawings and sculpture by Joseph Beuys. Investigations into the formal and affective possibilities of verbal imagery drawn from visual inspiration, Lauterbach’s poems explore the connections between seeing and saying. She applied this approach to pieces from the Gardner collection in "Handheld (At the Gardner Museum)," a new poem written while she was in residence.
Ann Lauterbach is the author of many books of poetry, including Or to Begin Again (2009), which was nominated for the National Book Award and includes a long poem, “Alice in the Wasteland,” that was inspired by both Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland. She is also the author of Under the Sign (2013), Hum (2005), If in Time: Selected Poems 1975-2000 (2001), as well as a book of essays, The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience (2005). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation; in 1995, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She is currently Schwab Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College.