Give me your hand*

January 15, 2023

2022 Walk Award
By Amanda Norenberg

I am a bridge
Between you, child, and those who you feel
but will never meet in the flesh.

I am not made of taut cables and steel, or wood
and bolts and cross-beams, or even tight ropes
woven together. I am not hard or immobile.

I am made of a glance, a giggle, a sigh, a wrinkle,
a skin spot, a black eyelash, a squinty grin.

I am made of rigatoni noodles steaming out of
the pot coated in butter, given to you in a small
bowl with a wink before dinner.

I am lasagna oozing mozzarella and red grease,
I am endive coated in sour vinegar and olive oil,
I am stories repeated around the table.

How can you be a bridge AND be all these
other things? you ask.

Babe, the bridge IS all these things,
and the bridge is your hand in my hand in
all their hands, all at once.

*Copyright © 2022 by Amanda Norenberg. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
Amanda Norenberg grew up in Minnesota on the North Shore of Lake Superior for 23 years, and has now lived in Washington the exact same amount of time. With a background in language (English, French, Chinese) and art, she’s had articles, poems, and photos published, art shows exhibited, and is now focusing these passions into a self-owned copywriting and photography business called Facet Copy. Amanda’s close relationship with her 11-year-old daughter is an inspiration for this poem. “Remembering the generation of grandparents I grew up with, I was mourning the fact that Opal will never meet them. But I realized that through me and the traditions we keep as a family, they can still feel alive in her heart.”

another poetry walk

November 20, 2015

Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge

The sculptor Siah Armajani creates architectural works that often incorporate poetry and other language. His public art projects include many shared spaces such as gardens, reading rooms and parks. Armajani explains, “I am interested in the nobility of usefulness. My intention is to build open, available, useful, common, public gathering places. Gathering places that are neighborly.”

In Minneapolis, where the artist is based, the Armajani-designed Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge is a 379-foot pedestrian walkway that connects the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with Loring Park. Passing over 16 lanes of roadway and traffic, the bridge displays, on its upper rail, a poem by John Ashbery commissioned for the project.

You can read the text of the untitled poem and see additional photos on the John Ashbery Poetry Tumblr. You can also hear the poet introducing and reading the poem, which begins, “And now I cannot remember how I would have had it,” at the 92nd Street Y on November 11, 1989, on PennSound.

Note: although the Sculpture Garden is undergoing a massive renovation and many of its landmark artworks are temporarily stored or moved to other locations, the Bridge and the Walker Art Center will remain open during construction. The Garden’s re-opening is expected in summer 2017.
. . . . .
photo by Jen-Kuang Chang

Rotting Wood*

October 25, 2010

Placard design by Egress Studio
2006 Merit Award
By Jeremy Voigt

Each board put down doesn’t like its neighbor,
but is attracted to the sound of water below,
and the squeal of metal nails hitting home.
Each board of this bridge aspires to squeak
one day under the weight of people, and to make
the travelers nervous in their travels, putting their
minds on what is below their feet for a moment
rather than what is so far before them it cannot be seen.

*Copyright 2006 by Jeremy Voigt. This poem is included in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book! Placard design by Egress Studio.

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