Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community

Poetry is a Mouth

“Poetry is a mouth; kiss open its language.”

For Open Studios, I wanted to turn my studio into an experience of what poetry feels like for me. A lot of people say they “don’t get poetry.” I think we are missing the point, often having been taught poetry in too linear of a fashion. When people say they “don’t get poetry,” I want to reply, “Have you ever had a feeling?” (to quote my friend Mariah Boothe).

For me, poetry is an attempt to write the soul into existence. It is less about the words itself, but the feeling, the image, the environment the poem creates. It just so happens that little weird dots and lines form together to create fragments, that some call sentences, and our little westernized brains tries to mesh it all together in a digestible formula. Poetry doesn’t work like this. If you try to put it into a formula, it breaks the system and probably your head, creating much frustration and “BUT I DON’T GET IT!”

For open studios, I wanted to give poetry back to people. I may be in the residency as a writer and a poet, but I don’t have any magical key to the craft that you or your mail person or the person behind you at the stoplight or your mother or… (you get my point)… might also have. The soul is inherently poetic. How we choose to engage with our inner lives addresses.

So! I created a giant mouth! And invited people to feed the poetry mouth. I provided notebook paper, construction paper, scraps, envelopes, even old photographs for people to write on and crayons, markers, pens, and sharpies to write with. They could free write or choose one of the prompts I had written upon my wall. There was even a disposable camera if they wanted to take a photo for future poetic uses.

It was amazing to see the responses I got back! So many of them made me laugh or cry or maybe both. Over the course of the day, I received around sixty poems from different people. Honestly, such a treat and humbling honor to have people share their words and lives with me. Thank you, humans.

Till next time,

Madison Mae Parker

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This entry was posted on May 13, 2018 by in Uncategorized.

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