Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poetic Voices 2.0

Currently showing at The Phillips Collection is a marvelous exhibition, Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens. I was privileged to attend the October opening and reception. The show continues through January 10, 2010.

A video introduction to the exhibition narrated by curator Elsa Smithgall is here.

For an audio tour of the exhibition, click here. Photo images are here and here. (Note: On Flickr, you may add to the group pool your own photos inspired by May Ray, African Art.)

The American Poetry Museum, in Washington, D.C., is collaborating with The Phillips Collection on a series of programs that explore the intersections of poetry and visual art. One such program undertaken in conjunction with Man Ray, African Art is Poetic Voices 2.0: What is HERITAGE to you?

As part of Poetic Voices 2.0, the public is invited to create an original poem responding to Countee Cullen's poem "Heritage" (1925). Here's an excerpt from that poem:

What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?

Writer and curator Hari Jones, of the African American Civil War Museum, reads Cullen's entire poem here. He also offers his own response, "Do You Remember Timbuktu?"

Members of the public who want to participate in the project should watch the Poetic Voices 2.0 playlist, here, create a poetic response expressing the idea of heritage, record a video no more than two minutes long, and upload the video to YouTube. They also should join the Poetic Voices 2.0 group and add their videos there.

Currently, featured group videos are here. Another respondent, Sam Mirandi, narrates his response, "When They Ask", here.

The public has until noon, January 8, 2010, to give a thumbs up to the most favored poetic response. The person whose video is voted "favorite" will receive a year-long individual membership to The Phillips Collection; a year-long individual membership to the American Poetry Museum; two tickets to Man Ray, African Art that may be used during the exhibition's final weekend (January 9-10, 2010); and the exhibition catalogue.

(Note: Only videos that were uploaded by the event's original December 21 deadline are eligible for these awards.)

Go take a look at the videos responding to Cullen's "Heritage" and then cast your vote. Or create and upload your own video, because every poetic voice counts and deserves to be heard.

1 comment:

Marcus Goodyear said...

"Every poetic voice counts and deserves to be heard." I like that idea! I get very tired of the inbred nature of some poetry communities. In my opinion, the more people try to write/read good poetry, the better.