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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is currently showing One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works (through September 7, 2015), an exhibit that traces — in art, music and words — “the Great Migration, the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North that started around 1915.”

Included in the exhibit are 60 small, captioned works painted by Jacob Lawrence when he was just 23 years old — “The Migration Series.” MoMA has created a special website for the exhibit, with detailed information about each of the paintings as well as the history and culture of the time. In conjunction with One-Way Ticket,

“MoMA has commissioned ten celebrated poets, selected by Elizabeth Alexander, to write poems inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, which are included in the exhibition catalogue and website. This event, moderated by Alexander, presents debut readings of these poems by Rita Dove, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Spears Jones, Natasha Trethewey, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Crystal Williams, and Kevin Young.”

The reading will be held Friday, May 1, 2015, at the Museum of Modern Art. If you’re not in New York, browse the One-Way Ticket website and write your own ekphrastic poems.
. . . . .
image: And the migrants kept coming by Jacob Lawrence, 1941

meet literary Bellingham

April 29, 2015

Bellingham Poetry Gallery

Mark your calendar for Friday, May 8, 2015, and come hear the diverse poetic voices of the City of Subdued Excitement at the first Bellingham Poetry Gallery. Eighteen of Bellingham’s literary organizations will introduce themselves and their poetry at an evening of performance and creative cross pollination.

Coordinated by Erica Reed, this free event, at The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, begins at 6:00pm with mingling, snacks and the musical stylings of Jeff Reier. Poetry begins at 6:30pm and the evening will wrap up at about 9:00pm. See the full description on Facebook.

on poetry

April 28, 2015

Carolyn Forché
“We are responsible for the quality of our vision, we have a say in the shaping of our sensibility. In the many thousand daily choices we make, we create ourselves and the voice with which we speak and work.”
Carolyn Forché
(b. April 28, 1950)
. . . . .
quote: The Granta Book of Reportage, Ian Jack, ed.
photo: Blue Flower Arts


April 27, 2015

Victor Perard - Anatomy

If you enjoy hearing poetry well read, listen up.

The Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress contains some two thousand items, which are gradually being made available online.

From the Fishouse a “free online audio archive showcases emerging poets (defined for this purpose as poets with fewer than two published books of poetry at the time of submission) reading their own poems, as well as answering questions about poetry and the writing process.”

The Poetry Streamer is The Cortland Review’s radio station of poetry. It streams all the publication’s poetry recordings from the past 15 years in random order.

Book Riot has posted a video collection of “10 More Famous Poems Recited by Famous People.”
. . . . .
image from Anatomy and Drawing by Victor Perard, 1928

more laureates

April 26, 2015

laurelNow and then we like to update our list of poets laureate. Links are provided, where available, to the poet’s own website, the announcement or the appointing agency.

Seattle Civic Poet

April 25, 2015

Seattle Civic Poet

Seattle is getting serious about its poetry profile. The other day we posted about the city’s search for a Youth Poet Laureate and now we learn that Seattle is also seeking a Civic Poet. While the call for applications does not use the term poet laureate, the role and responsibilities sound similar.

The Seattle Civic Poet will “serve as a cultural ambassador,” offering “five annual performances” as well as “hands-on work with communities to engage constituents city-wide.” The position is “open to Seattle-based poets who have an established body of work including published works and/or spoken word experience.” The application deadline is May 28, 2015. Read more here.

on poetry

April 24, 2015

Robert Penn Warren“I longed to know the world’s name.”
Robert Penn Warren
(April 24, 1905 – September 15, 1989)
. . . . .

Toronto Poetry Map

Along with Tacoma and Portland and Denver and New York’s East Village, the city of Toronto now has a Poetry Map. The Toronto Public Library project, assembled with the guidance of Toronto poet laureate George Elliott Clarke, currently includes around 200 site-specific poems. Click on the location and you get a poem excerpt (sometimes more than one) along with a link to the Library’s book from which the poem is taken. An ongoing effort, the Toronto Poetry Map continues to take suggestions for new poems to add to the map.

Park poetry walks

April 22, 2015

NOLS - Devils-Punchbowl

Take yourself on a poetry walk in Olympic National Park. The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) and Olympic National Park are offering a series of four self-guided trail walks, each marked along the way with a variety of inspiring poems. The poems will be in place April 13 – June 14 only. Read more about the poetry walks and the trails on the NOLS Poetry Walks page.

Farewell Firehouse

April 21, 2015

Farewell Firehouse

From 1927 to 2001 it was Fire Station No. 2. In 2002, the old Fairhaven firehouse was purchased by Matt Christman and transformed into the Firehouse Performing Arts Center.

With its beautiful floor and retractable seating system, plus the lively Firehouse Café, “the Firehouse” has served the greater Bellingham community for a decade as a venue for dance, music, poetry, other performing arts, classes, meetings and much more. The Café was home to open mics, a small poetry library and art exhibits and a home-away-from-home to scores of regulars who treasured the coffee, pastries, huge fireplace and camaraderie.

When the property was put on the market for sale, a group of Firehouse fans rallied support to purchase the building and keep it operating. But the price was steep and the Firehouse was finally sold to a buyer who will use it for another function.

To mark the closing of the Firehouse, there will be a Final Poetry Reading / Open Mic on Saturday, April 25, 2015, starting at 7:00pm. Please join local poets and Firehouse lovers for this poignant evening of farewells.