Poetry in NYC Communities
Selected Events from our 2011 Season
May 7, 2011–Inaugural Night at the Festival of New Ideas, Lower East Side
Featured poets performing in the languages of the Lower East Side: Belye Gottesman (Yiddish), Virlana Tkacz (Ukranian), Sandra Maria Estevez (Nuyorican Spanish), and Xien Huang (Cantonese) and building-sized poem projections on the New Museum. Hosted by Bob Holman.
July 15, 2011–Sing in Me, O Muse!, Astoria
Greek-American Poetry at the Federation of Hellenic Societies. Hosted by Dean Kostos & Anastasia Tsantes, Poetry Ambassadors, with poets, musicians, and dancers honoring their Greek heritage. Featured projections on the neighborhood’s landmark Hell Gate Bridge along with a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Laureate Odysseas Elytis.
August 20, 2011–Pwezi Anba Tonèl, Prospect Heights
Haitian Poetry and Music at Five Myles Gallery in collaboration with Haiti Cultural Exchange and La Troupe Makandal with poets Josaphat-Robert Large, Michele Marcelin, Denize Lauture, & Jennifer Celestin. Music by Frisner Augustin & La Troupe Makandal. Hosted by Régine Roumain of Haiti Cultural Exchange and Lois Wilcken of La Troupe Makandal with projections of vèvè and contemporary and classic Haitian poetry.
November 8, 2011–Nuyorican Founders: Voices of the Elders, Lower East Side
The POEMobile visited the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Loisaida. Appropriate to Alphabet City (East 3rd between B and C), the letters were writ large and projected life size on the legendary birthplace of Nuyorican poetry. The projections accompanied readings by the Nuyorican pioneers, Tato Laviera, Lois Griffith, Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez, Louis Reyes Rivera, and Sandra Maria Esteves, who hosted the event.
Selected Events from our 2012 Season
March 22, 2012–Norooz 2012: A Celebration of the Persian New Year, DUMBO
A collaboration with the Persian Arts Festival, the program included multi-media performances by poets Roger Sedarat, Sara Goudarzi, Amir Parsa and Poetry Ambassador Kaveh Bassiri at VII Gallery. The event also included a film viewing of Niloufar Talebi’s The Persian Rite of Spring: the Story of Nowruz, a musical performance by Middle Eastern-meets-Brooklyn band, Vatan, and performance art by Aphrodite Desiree Navab.
June 2, 2012 – Ironbound Fado, Ironbound District, Newark
Led by Poetry Ambassador Ana Sofia Paiva, original and traditional fado lyrics were projected on to the Sport Club Portuguese for an audience of more than 200. The program featured musicians Catarina dos Santos & César Vieira, Michael da Silva & José Luís Iglésias, Sara Serpa & André Matos, and 10 different poets/fadistas who wrote new poems for the event.
June 23, 2012 – Lumen Festival, Atlantic Salt Works, Staten Island
The POEMobile team collaborated with Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) Folklife’s “Mobile Heritage Project” to present a selection of poetry, projections, and music from Staten Island’s Sri Lankan, Liberian, and Mexican communities as part of the 2012 LUMEN video and performance art festival on the Island’s waterfront. Irma Flores presented poems in Mixtec, a Mexican indigenous language, Seetha Wickramasuriya sang Sri Lankan kavi poems in Sinhala, and Liberian folktales were presented by Ms. Eva of the Park Hill Story Circle.
September 8, 2012– “Quoth the Raven: Edgar Allen Poe in El Bronx,” South Bronx
Held at a packed house at the Bronx Documentary Center, the POEMobile team staged an evening of poetry and live music featuring some of the poems by Edgar Allan Poe, written when he lived in the Bronx in the late 1840s, set to different Afro-Cuban rhythms. Music provided by multi Grammy-nominated drummer Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Aché. Poetry by Caridad De La Luz “La Bruja”.
Selected Events from our 2013 Season
March 3, 2013–Chinese New Year at Flushing Town Hall, Flushing
On the last night of Lunar New Year, the POEMobile celebrated the Chinese Lantern Festival with Poetry Ambassador Dr. Hsing-Lih Chou, the New York Chinese Chorus, and community poets and musicians in a program of classical and modern Chinese poetry. The combined outdoor/indoor event included projections in Mandarin on Flushing Town Hall’s 150 year old façade, a lantern parade, and an art exhibition featuring the animals of the Chinese zodiac.
October 12, 2013—One Island, Two Houses at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights
A symposium and POEMobile event exploring the music of Haitian rara and Dominican gaga and their socio-political context. For hundreds of years Haiti and the Dominican Republic have shared the island of Hispaniola and a challenging post-colonial history that has strained relations between the two neighbors. This event culminated in a unique performance with projections of rara and gaga chants in the original languages and English translation and performances by two of New York’s best traditional music and dance ensembles for Haitian rara (Nadia Dieudonné & the Feet of Rhythm) and Dominican gaga (Gagá Pa’l Pueblo).
November 23, 2013—NY’OC Trobadors Symposium & Performance, Poets House, Lower Manhattan
Brooklyn-based troupe NY’OC Trobadors bring the riches of southern France’s troubadour tradition to New York. Celebrating the riches of Occitan poetry and culture from the Middle Ages to today, this program explored the history of the tradition through panel discussions and performances. A POEMobile event with the NY’OC Trobadors reciting and singing new translations of Occitan poetry (by Pierre Joris and Nicole Peyrafitte) accompanied by POEMobile projections served as the grand finale to this day-long program at Poets House.
Selected Events from our 2014 Season
February 23, 2014—Korean Lunar New Year at Flushing Town Hall, Flushing
To celebrate the Year of the Horse. the POEMobile highlighted contemporary and classical Korean poems and songs with a combined outdoor/indoor poetry performances accompanied by Korean traditional music and dance at Flushing Town Hall. Award-winning poet and novelist Sang-Hee Kwak and Korean-American poet Christina Shin, professor and translator Hong Ai Bai, and Kwang-Ryul Cho, son of the late, noted poet and critic Cho Ji-Hoon, read poems on the subjects of spring, renewal, homeland, and love, accompanied by projections of text from the poems. Traditional music and dance were performed by Vong Pak (janggu, Korean drum), Oak Joo Moon (pansori, Korean opera), and Myeong-Soon Choi (dance).