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Posts Tagged ‘william grimes’

You don’t have to love everything that someone calls a poem to believe that it’s a great thing to encourage poetic expression and enjoyment of poetry in all walks of life.

One of the memorable aspects of Jason Elliot’s book on Iran, Mirrors of the Unseen, at least for me, was how many ordinary people in that country were interested in the great poets of their culture and could recite ancient verse.

Meanwhile, in Miami, there’s a poetry festival that aims to touch everyone.

William Grimes at the NY Times says, “If you live in Miami and you do not read, recite or listen to a poem in April, something has gone seriously wrong. For the third year, the O, Miami Poetry Festival will flood the city with words, using any pretext to accomplish its mission of putting all 2.6 million residents of Miami-Dade County in contact with at least one poem. …

“Poems will be pasted on the mirrors of public bathrooms and positioned at congested intersections, so drivers stuck in traffic jams can get some uplift while their engines idle. …

“One of last year’s most popular events, run with WLRN, the local public radio station, was a poetry contest in which citizen-poets were asked to contribute lines dedicated to the theme: ‘That’s so Miami.’ The winner in the ‘best ode to Miami Spanglish’ category was Lauren Fernandez: ‘Exciting and Extravagant/Guajiros in Bentleys./Tostones and Champagne. That’s so Miami.’

“This year contestants must pick a location between the Palm Beaches and the Keys and enshrine it in verse, incorporating the words “this is where.” Winners will see their work published in The Miami Herald. …

“Ivan Lopez, an actor, will dress as the poet and revolutionary José Martí, mount a white horse and ride down Calle Ocho handing out roses with poems attached. That’s so Miami.”

More  at the Times.

Photo: Ting-Li Wang/NY Times
Reading poetry. Can you identify the poet? Hint: He’s not so Miami.

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Amtrak-trains-Boston

I love Amtrak, and I love writing, but I don’t think I am ever going to do an Amtrak Artist Residency, so I am passing along the info so you can apply. It sounds like fun. Just glimpsing the exposed backs of houses along the tracks with their hints of the private lives lived in them is inspiration for a ream of stories.

William Grimes writes for the NY Times blog ArtBeat, “The wheels have begun moving on Amtrak’s plan to offer writers a rolling residency aboard their trains. … Up to 24 writers, chosen from a pool of applicants, will be given a round-trip ticket on a long-distance train, including a private sleeper-car room with a bed, a desk, and electrical outlets. …

“The idea was born in December when the novelist Alexander Chee, in an interview with the magazine PEN America, casually mentioned his love for writing on trains, and added, jokingly, ‘I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers.’

“When Jessica Gross, a writer in New York, echoed the sentiment on Twitter, Amtrak arranged for her to do a trial residency on the Lake Shore Limited from New York to Chicago. She agreed.

“Her account of the trip, ‘Writing the Lake Shore Limited,’ published by The Paris Review in February, grabbed the attention of The Wire, The New Yorker and The Huffington Post. Soon after, Amtrak decided to turn the trial run into a full-fledged program.” More on when and how to apply.

Even before that series of events, there was the Whistlestop Arts Train, you know. I blogged about the rolling public art project by Doug Aitken last July, here.

Trains for dreaming. Holiday model train layout at Amtrak’s South Station, Boston.

model-trains-Amtrak-S-Station

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