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Poet’s Walk: Portals to Poetry

George Herms Charles Simic

Ernst & Young Plaza
725 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017


George Herms

Portals to Poetry, 1989

Based on the poetry of Charles Simic

Steel, bronze, and found objects

12’h x 7’6″x 7’6″d

Portals to Poetry is a collaborative work of art that is part of the Poet’s Walk series installed in the financial district of downtown Los Angeles. The sculpture, created by artist George Herms, is assembled from rusted steel door frames crowned with a steel buoy, all salvaged from a Santa Monica junkyard. Herms, who considers himself an environmentalist, often uses industrial waste in his work. Portals to Poetry incorporates eight poems by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Simic engraved on two bronze plaques within the sculpture.

When initially discussing this commission, the artists decided they wanted to mimic the revolving door on the nearby 777 Tower that leads to the plaza where the sculpture is located. Thus the sculpture resembles a  stationary revolving door that physically leads nowhere but “…which are now full of poetry that goes everywhere.” The letters “L-O-V-E” (with the E printed backward) are stamped into the corners of the cement base, communicating the idea that all forms of art are a labor of love.

A pioneer of assemblage sculpture who came of age at the heart of the Beat Generation, American artist George Herms transforms discarded, mundane objects into poetic sculptures that exemplify the open, free-form association. Herms likens his works to jazz, claiming: “The feeling I get when leaving a jazz club is how I want people to feel when they leave an exhibition of mine.” Herms was born in 1935 in Woodland, California and is based in Los Angeles.