a sloped marble wall embossed with part of a poem in Portuguese and flanked by two large, red, curved and perforated fences

About ten miles west of Lisbon, in Oeiras, Portugal, Parque dos Poetas (Poets’ Park) is a 25-acre landscaped park with large sculptures of 20 prominent Portuguese poets. Most are figurative, the piece shown above, honoring Pedro António Joaquim Correia da Serra Garção (1724-1772), being an exception. The park also features a labyrinth surrounding a sculptural pyramid and a Temple of Poetry, a multipurpose space with an amphitheater, room for exhibits, and a roof terrace with a spectacular view of the sea.

To learn more, visit the Parque dos Poetas website. The text is in Portuguese, but you can click and scroll through many photos, and there’s even a Google Earth link that allows you to view each sculpture. Here’s a description by Vasco Casula of his stroll through the park. For further reading, here’s the Wikipedia page on Portuguese poetry.

reasons to go to… Vilnius

December 5, 2020

The next time you’re in Lithuania, be sure to stroll down Literatų gatvė (Literature Street) in Vilnius Old Town. The walls of the narrow walking street are decorated with plaques commemorating local writers and works of literature.

Find out more on Atlas Obscura.

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Thanks to poet Yvonne Blomer, who mentioned in a Facebook posting that she visited Literature Lane in 2012 and proposed something similar as a legacy project following her stint as poet laureate of Victoria, BC.

You have until March 28, 2020, to get to the Center for Book Arts in New York City to see Warren Lehrer: Books, Animation, Performance, Collaboration.

Warren Lehrer is a prolific writer and artist/designer and this exhibition combines book arts, animation, typography, and performance. Many of the works are collaborative, created with other writers, musicians, and animators.

Warren Lehrer will present/perform his work as author, designer, and book artist, and discuss the relationship between the books, animations and performance/readings on Thursday, March 26, 2020. The event is free, with advance registration.

If you are interested in visual poetry, this is a must-see.

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image: “Poetry” from Five Oceans in a Teaspoon

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University has opened a new exhibit, Beyond Words: Experimental Poetry and the Avant-Garde, which will remain on view through December 15, 2019. Focused on the experimental poetry of post-war Europe and its importance as political and social expression, the exhibit incorporates text, image, and sound. To learn more, have a look at the 40-page Beyond Words catalog, available online as a PDF.

Celebrated as the Bard of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko (March 9, 1814 – March 10, 1861) was a poet, artist, and influential thinker. A monument in his honor was unveiled in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on Canada Day 1951 and the original Taras H. Shevchenko Museum was opened one year later. That structure, along with its collections, was destroyed by arson in 1988.

On October 20, 2019, the brand-new Taras Shevchenko Museum will open at 1604 Bloor Street West, Toronto, just down the block from the original. Shevchenko’s poetry is prominently featured and the collections are said to be “far superior in size, quality and variety” than its predecessor. In addition to honoring the poet, the museum celebrates Ukrainian culture and the contribution of Canadians of Ukrainian descent to the social, economic, and cultural life of Canada.

Much more information on Taras Shevchenko and the museum here.

Reasons to go to… New York

September 26, 2019

Really, who needs a reason? But if you should find that your travel plans include New York this autumn, be sure to visit The Center for Book Arts, which is presenting three new exhibitions that showcase the book as a medium that translates across time and space: Walt Whitman’s Words: Inspiring Artists Today curated by Deirdre Lawrence, The Traveling Artist: Journals by Lydia Rubio, and Witnessing Through Artist’s Books: Clarissa Sligh. These exhibits will be open to the public October 4 through December 14, 2019. (Note: The Center for Book Arts website is under construction, so here is a detailed description on Eventbrite, and here is a Facebook link.)

Walt Whitman’s Words includes work by the remarkable artist Meg Hitchcock. If you do go to New York, you can also see Hitchcock’s visual poetics at C24 Gallery (September 26 – November 29), Doug Adams Gallery at Graduate Theological Union (September 5 – December 13), and Green Door Gallery in Brooklyn (October 11 – November 10, 2019).

You have until September 8, 2019, to take in Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything at the Jewish Museum in New York City.

Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything is the first exhibition entirely devoted to the imagination and legacy of the influential singer/songwriter, man of letters, and global icon from Montréal, Canada. The exhibition includes commissioned works by a range of international artists who have been inspired by Cohen’s style and recurring themes in his work, a video projection showcasing Cohen’s own drawings, and an innovative multimedia gallery where visitors can hear covers of Cohen’s songs by musicians such as Lou Doillon; Feist; Moby; and The National with Sufjan Stevens, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Richard Reed Parry, among others.

Poetry. Music. Inspiration.

In case you miss it in New York, the exhibit will be on view at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, September 17, 2020 – January 24, 2021.

going on now

July 16, 2019

If you happen to be in — or traveling to — Los Angeles, New York, or Moscow, between now and August 3, 2019, check out the goings-on at The Film and Video Poetry Symposium

over 30 international films and will screen in three cities: Moscow, Los Angeles, and New York City. In addition, the symposium will feature 9 guest speakers, educational workshops, poetry readings, and a gallery exhibit celebrating the work of 18 artists and poets. Our audience will experience poetry films, performing arts, videopoetry, experimental media, poetry readings, essay films, media installations, and films from the avant-garde.

The Symposium is a program of The Film and Video Poetry Society (FVPS), which encourages film and video poets to further their ongoing explorations by providing a platform for these artists to activate, collaborate, discuss, and maintain creative work developed through the convergence of these art forms.

See the complete Symposium schedule here.

Located in the poet’s home village of Bellaghy, County Derry, Ireland, Seamus Heaney HomePlace celebrates the life and literature of one of Ireland’s greatest writers. Open daily, the HomePlace offers exhibitions, talks, performances, and workshops related to Heaney’s life and work.

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Reasons to go to… Madrid

November 27, 2018

A couple of years ago, we published a guest post by poet Jeremy Voigt, who shared his experience as part of the Unamuno Reading Series at Desperate Literature bookshop in Madrid.

In May/June 2019, Desperate Literature will host Madrid’s first English-language poetry festival, bringing over 50 poets and scholars to the city. There will be a week of readings and lectures from poets and non-fiction writers as well as a collaboration with the Latinx Writers Caucus to launch the García Lorca prize for an emerging Latinx author.

Learn more about The Unamuno Author Festival 2019 and see the impressive list of attending poets, including Jeremy Voigt.

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