poetry outdoors

February 23, 2022

Oregon’s Percent for Art in Public Places Program, administered by the Oregon Arts Commission, was one of the first of such programs in the United States. It has placed more than 2,400 works of art in public spaces throughout the state since 1975.

The program’s placements include 28 artworks in the permanent collection of the Vanport Building at Portland State University. A recent addition at Vanport is we breathe & breathing is (an) a|synchronous music, every body needs the air, a 25-foot-long poetry installation by Dao Strom, with Vietnamese translation by Vi Khi Nao. Follow the link for additional photos and a video reading of the poem.

(As a side note, The Vanport Building, which opened for use in January 2021, is named after the City of Vanport, which was destroyed during the 1948 Memorial Day Flood.)

outdoors in Brooklyn

November 30, 2021

Molly Gross and Drew Pisarra, two conceptual artists otherwise known as Saint Flashlight (previously mentioned here), put poetry in unexpected places — on telephone poles, coffee sleeves, movie marquees, and, currently, on lighted screens and window monitors at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

For The Will of the City, Saint Flashlight invited playwrights and poets to pen sonnets inspired by the plays of Shakespeare. The words of more than a dozen poets are now being displayed in rotation at the theater and are also being distributed as printed postcards in the theater lobby. Participating poets include Anya Banerjee, Carol Triffle, Diane Mehta, Emmy Potter, Jeffrey Sweet, Malcolm Tariq, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Mónica de la Torre, Regie Cabico, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, Urayoán Noel, Twinkle Burke, Will Eno, Kate Lutzner, and Steven Gaultney. The Will of the City continues through the end of the year.

See more of this and other Saint Flashlight activations on Facebook and on Instagram @saintflashlight.

Niedecker Wall 3

November 3, 2021

Back in 2014, we posted about a public poetry project in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. To honor the poet Lorine Niedecker, who lived much of her life nearby, the Friends of Lorine Niedecker are now sponsoring a third poetry wall painted by artist Jeremy Pinc. More about the Niedecker walls here.

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more words on walls

September 4, 2021

The Poetry Society of America has just announced a major new public poetry project featuring the haiku of Richard Wright (September 4, 1908 – November 28, 1960).

A grant from the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo [Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass] Art Fund will support Seeing Into Tomorrow, which will transform poems by Richard Wright into large-scale installations on Brooklyn walls.

Best known for his searing depictions of racial injustice in books like Native Son and Black Boy, Wright spent the final 18 months of his life creating his own distinctive versions of haiku.

Seeing Into Tomorrow is one of 12 public art projects supported by the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund, which seeks to enhance public space, increase access to cultural programming, and connect the neighborhoods of Downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo.

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Richard Wright photo

more public poetry

August 30, 2021

Opiemme is the street name of an Italian artist who creates site-specific public poetry, often in collaboration with other artists and community members. The artist also creates smaller-scale gallery works. See more on the Opiemme website, Brooklyn Street Art and on Facebook.

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photo by Opiemme

visible language

August 29, 2021

Forced Entertainment is a group of six theatre and performance artists based in Sheffield, England. The group’s artistic director, Tim Etchells, is a visual artist and writer known for his performances, installations, and neon artworks. The latter are large-scale, often temporary pieces that explore “contradictory aspects of language — the speed, clarity and vividness with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time its amazing propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity.” Browse some of Tim Etchells’s projects.

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image by Colin Davison

stop and rest, Iowa style

November 20, 2019

For more than 20 years, the Iowa Department of Transportation has been redefining the term rest area. Rather than the minimal parking-plus-basic-amenities, each of Iowa’s “New Generation Rest Areas” reflects local history, culture, or natural resources.

Iowa City is the home of the University of Iowa and the venerable Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Appropriately, the Tiffin rest area on I-80 eastbound at milepost 237, less than ten miles from Iowa City, salutes Writing.

Designed by RDG Dahlquist Art Studio and called “It Has Iowa Written All Over It,” the facility includes, among other writing-specific objects and information, picnic shelters with pierced-metal walls displaying quotes from writers with an Iowa connection.

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photo above, plus others
thanks to Miriam Sagan for the heads up!

Since yesterday’s featured poem mentioned Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island, Washington), we thought we’d mention that Friday Harbor has announced the establishment of four “new poetry gardens as a way of bringing poetry — a way of seeing our world through another’s mind — into our everyday experience.” Poems for the gardens are currently being collected in a contest for San Juan County residents of all ages (deadline November 30, 2019).

According to the San Juan Islander, “Selected poems will be professionally engraved on plaques and displayed artistically in one of several gardens located in the Town of Friday Harbor for a period of two years.”

The poetry gardens will supplement Friday Harbor’s already impressive collection of more than 20 public art installations around town.

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So…along one of the many roads that lead to these posts, there was information about a new poetry walk (a recurring topic) in Newton, Massachusetts. (We posted about another poetry project in Newton five years ago and were glad to see they’re still at it.) The new project has the excellent name Make Poetry Concrete. (Read more here and here.)

Thinking there might be a better photograph than the one from the City of Cambridge, we searched the term Make Poetry Concrete and were happily misdirected to a Concrete Poem Generator. (Poetry generators are another recurring topic.) Thus you have the silly poem-ish pumpkin-shaped image above. So Happy Halloween!

spring poem

April 9, 2019

An apt poem for spring by Rabindranath Tagore. It appears on a bench at the Dublin Zoo, as beautifully photographed by Diego Lopez. More about Tagore’s connection with Ireland, and more specifically with W.B. Yeats, here.

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