Monday, June 11, 2007

Cultural crosstraining

What a weekend! It was all happening: Runners at Green Lake picking up their pink T-shirts, each with a poem on the back, and my friend Bonnie standing at the path encouraging them to participate.

"Runners, get a T-shirt. They're free. They have a poem on the back! Support your local poets."

At this point, I would chime in.

"Get a free T-shirt. It's pink!"

The morning was blustery, the wind was gusting, and we had fun.

That was my outdoor break in between reading poems on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Deborah Birrane's benefit dance performance. I was able to watch her dance during tech rehearsal on Friday night—and she danced beautifully. Each concert included mingling, complete with sparkling wine, the dance and poetry performance, a question-and-answer session, and then a reception with Italian wines paired with foods.

Feasts for everyone!

During the Q & A, in response to a question about where dance might be going in the next 30 years, Deborah talked about grass-roots efforts to bring dance to people and make it accessible—easier for people to enjoy.

I thought about that and how it relates to poetry. It seems like it's easy for us poets to feel kind of marginalized by society, or by popular culture. How do we bring poetry to everyone?

I think that Ted Kooser's poem of the week probably helped, plus poems on the bus, poems in public art, artists in the schools. I think the Running Poets of Green Lake was a fabulous and creative example of how to weave poetry into the comfortable fabric of people's lives.

Is poetry supposed to be comfortable? Not always, but I think you have to start somewhere.

What do you think?


Peter said...

This just sounds so fun!
I want to make some poetry tees to wear at the gym now.
But the poem would be on the front, not the back. (or both sides?) And include a picture. Like a broadside!

aka Leonardo Likes Gulls said...

I thought it was a fabulous project!! Too cool! Thanks for the notes and photo since I wasn't able to make it.