Today’s poetry round up offers us an insight into how poetry can bring people together, and how we can be surrounded by poems but not even know it.
Poetry Inspires Theatre
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s resident ensemble Universes, is currently performing a new musical, UniSon which is inspired by the poetry of August Wilson. The musical takes it inspiration from several the poets unpublished works.
In 1995, the cofounder of Universes, Steven Sapp had heard Wilson, who he had previously heard of as a playwright, reading some of his poetry at a gathering in Pittsburgh. In fact, Wilson had been a poet long before he turned to writing for the theatre; he helped cofound Black Horizon Theatre. On his death in 2005 his obituary called him “Theatre’s Poet of Black America”. The musical which is a fusion of music, theatre and poetry is set to run until October 28th. Although Wilson is better known as a playwright (he won 2 Pulitzer prizes for drama) poetry was his first love.
London based artist and designer Naho Matsudo, has been working on a new and rather different poetry project in Manchester. In conjunction with FutureEverything the project aims to create poetry using the live smart city data that is generated by the city itself. The text based works which will be the result of the project will appear at various locations around the city; at bus stops, outside libraries and even in shopping centres. They can also be read in real time online. The poetry will change regularly to reflect the huge variety of things that happen in a bustling city during the day, and aims to make poetry truly accessible to everyone and in every situation.
The Harvard Poet Who Came Out as Trans
Poet and Harvard English professor Steph Burt recently took to Facebook to announce that although she had been presenting herself to the world as a lady for a while, and a man on occasion, she would now be a lady full time. Displaying a tolerance for the confuse and the simply curious Burt believes that dialogues should matter and people should always be allowed to change their minds. In a move to be as open to people’s curiosity as possible the poet said that whilst she would prefer to be called Steph, Stephen would still work just as well and that the wrong use of pronoun or name would not ruin her day. With 3 published collections of poetry under her belt (written under the name Stephen Burt) the poet is also a noted poetry critic.
Poetry Will Never be Irrelevant Again
In the aftermath of the tragic events that occurred at the Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester on 22nd May, one man’s voice and his poetry gave strength to many. Tony Walsh’s powerful poem to the city – This is The Place offered words of hope, words of support to all those who were touched, in whatever way by the events that had taken place. Walsh, who had previously worked for the council, hadn’t always wanted to be a poet, but that all changed in 2004 with a public poetry reading. Who can say that poetry is irrelevant when it brings together a nation, embodies the peoples of a city and unites everyone?
It seems poetry these days, if a little different to poetry in past generations, still holds an innate power to bring people together – will yours?