Official Art Basel Poem 2013 – The Betsy-South Beach

In honor of Art Basel – with the realization that 50,000 people will flock to the area to pay homage to the power of art -we’re inspired to put poetry front and center as it offers a unique way of seeing, of knowing, and of experiencing the world.

To that end, this year we selected a poem by HP (our own poetry muse,  Hyam Plutzik) to set the stage for Art Basel Miami Beach 2013. And, with the help of translator Jose Villar Portela, it’s offered here in both English and Spanish.


Like successive layers of leaf that dwindle the sunlight
Are the overlapping cumulative shadows
Projected by things, which huddle in them darkly
Within the greater shadow: suffering.

Breaching the shores of matter a swell of shadows
Destroys all sanctions of formal separateness;
And objects, transposed of vesture, take doubtful values
Like hulks vaguely discerned under the tides.

What inner or outer flames may shine are random
In the one, shadowed sea where all things melt,
While through all, the superior dark, the subjective night
Encloses and bathes the universe.
Como capas sucesivas de hojarasca que menguan la luz del sol
Se ven las traslapadas sombras acumulativas
Proyectadas por las cosas, que en ellas se agazapan tenebrosas
Dentro de la sombra mayor: el sufrimiento.

Rebosando las orillas materiales una oleada de sombras
Destruye toda sanción de separación formal;
Y los objetos, transpuestos de vestidura, toman dudosos carices
Como moles entrevistos en la marea.

Aleatoria es toda llama que brille interna o externa
En el único, ensombrecido mar donde todo se liquida,
Mientras tanto, la lobreguez superior, la noche subjetiva
Encierra y baña el universo.

Poem used with permission of the estate of Hyam Plutzik, all rights reserved.  For more poetry by Plutzik, visit


Poem used with permission of the estate of Hyam Plutzik, all rights reserved.


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