Lyric World

March 5, 2020

This is a guest post by Shin Yu Pai.

The Lyric World poetry series launched in January at Town Hall Seattle and brings together contemporary poets to talk about the social role of poetry. In our first installment, we hosted Thomas Hitoshi Pruiskma, who reflected on the role of wonder in poetry, while performing a magic trick or two for our live audience. Ibrahim Arsalan, who is griot-trained jeli, performed music on the African kora.

I created the series as an extension of my previous work with Town Hall as an artist-in-residence for that organization, where I had a chance to curate programming that focused on poetry and the sacred in the everyday with Peter Levitt, poetry and place with writer Kathleen Alcalá, plus a program on creativity as it has innovated activism in the work of documentary poet Kaia Sand, public artist Susan Robb, and architect Rex Hohlbein of The Block Project.

My current work is committed to highlighting underrepresented voices who have not previously shared their work with Town Hall audiences. Our inaugural season highlights voices from the Asian-American diaspora. Looking around at other series in Seattle, I was aware of local event series that elevate the work of Indigenous and Black poets but didn’t see anyone producing programming on an ongoing basis related to Asian-American poets and our work.

On Thursday, March 19, 2020*, we’ll host the poet Koon Woon, who will speak on poetry and displacement and how poetry can create a sense of belonging where the notion of home has been complicated. In June, we’ll be back with a program with Prageeta Sharma, an author with Seattle-based press Wave Books. Our programs are distributed through KUOW Speaker’s Forum and you can listen to the first installment of Lyric World here.

If you’d like to support this program, please consider making a donation here. We are supported by The Windrose Fund, Poets & Writers, and Office of Arts & Culture for The City of Seattle.

To learn more about Lyric World, here is some press the series has garnered:

Seattle Review of Books
South Seattle Emerald
Northwest Asian Weekly
Cascadia Magazine

*IMPORTANT NOTE: Town Hall has suspended in-person attendance at programs scheduled through March 31, 2020. The program will be rescheduled once normal activities resume.

. . . . .

Shin Yu Pai is a poet, cross-media artist, and curator for the collaborative global exploration project Atlas Obscura. Her poetic origins inform an artistic style that has grown beyond the written word — manifesting in photography, installation and public art, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and sound. She was the fourth poet laureate of the City of Redmond.

Thomas Pruiksma photo: Eric Frommer
Shin Yu Pai photo: James McDaniel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: