New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority Offers Nation’s First Interactive Guide for Poetry in Motion, freely accessible worldwide

The City Hall station of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line opened on October 27, 1904 courtesy of Paul LowryFlickr: City Hall under CC BY 2.0 license

“Poetry touches all of us in deeply personal ways and has the ability to change our mood and our outlook in the time it takes to read a few lines.” Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design


Screen shot courtesy of MTA

The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Arts & Design launched a user-friendly interactive guide for Poetry in Motion, providing MTA riders with a handy way to view a comprehensive collection of poems in the program and learn about the poets and artists behind the poetry cards they see in New York City Transit subways and buses.

“Poetry is celebrated every day in New York and launching this new guide brings the intimate experience of discovering a poem to any and everyone around the world through a quick download, while giving our riders a way to rediscover more recent poems,” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design. “Poetry touches all of us in deeply personal ways and has the ability to change our mood and our outlook in the time it takes to read a few lines.”

The popular Poetry in Motion program, beloved by riders since it began more than 25 years ago, provides a moment of respite or a spark of inspiration during subway and bus commutes. The program is a partnership between MTA Arts & Design and the Poetry Society of America, working together to choose poems and display them on posters in subway cars and buses. Each poem is paired with an image from a permanent station artwork commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. The new guide compiles together every Poetry in Motion poem since 2012, when Poetry in Motion was permanently added to MTA Arts & Design’s arts programming. The guide displays the poems as they appeared on the poster, provides information on the poet and the artist, and features audio clips of select poems read by the poets themselves.

“What a treat to see the art from which parts have been drawn for our enduring and ever-popular Poetry in Motion posters,” said Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America. “This new feature provides a visual tour of the great gallery of art commissioned by this talented team at MTA Arts & Design over the many years. Bravo to all for making this accessible to so many and for enriching our lives with this poetry guide.”

The interactive guide was produced by MTA staff and is available to view or download as a PDF on the MTA Arts & Design website through the “POETRY” tab. Once downloaded, the guide can be viewed offline on a smartphone or tablet, though Internet access is required for web links to the MTA TripPlanner, permanent station artwork pages and audio files.

This post is complied courtesy of the NY MTA Arts and Design, the Poetry Society of America, and Wikipedia.

About MTA Arts & Design
MTA Arts & Design encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. Its permanent Percent for Art program is one of the world’s largest and most diverse collections of site-specific public art in transportation, with over 300 site-specific commissions by world-famous, mid-career and emerging artists. Arts & Design produces photography installations, digital art, graphic arts and live musical performances in stations, and the Poetry in Motion program in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America. It serves more than 8 million people who ride MTA subways and commuter trains daily and strives to create meaningful connections between sites, neighborhoods, and people. For more information, please visit mta.info/art

About the Poetry Society of America
The Poetry Society of America, the nation’s oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910. Its mission is to build a larger and more diverse audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the vitality and breadth of poetry in the cultural conversation, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life.  For more information, please visit www.poetrysociety.org.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

New Anthology of Essays, Memoir, Stories and Poems by NYC Immigrant “Dreamers”

With an Introduction by Mexican novelist Álvaro Enrigue, the Collection is the Product of PEN America’s “DREAMing Out Loud” Workshops for CUNY students



Enrigue at the 2016 Hay Festival courtesy of Andrew Lih under

PEN America today published an anthology of writings by young aspiring writers and students who struggle with the day-to-day difficulties of their immigration status. The collection, DREAMing Out Loud: Voices of Undocumented Students includes fifty-nine personal essays, short stories, memoir and poems with an introduction by award-winning Mexican novelist and essayist Álvaro Enrigue, who, along with writers Charlie Vazquez, and Lisa Ko, mentored the students as part of PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud writing workshop series. Enrigue is the founder of the program with PEN America.

The collection is available at Amazon for $9.95. All proceeds benefit PEN America. More details about the book and PEN America’s “DREAMing Out Loud” workshops HERE.

The collection captures both personal and political views, along with remembrances, of the young writers who came to the United States as children from nearly every continent and from diverse settings: conflict zones and farms to urban centers and rural outposts.

For them, debate over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other legislative immigration proposals is not an abstract political discussion; rather, it is their lived experience and a constant reminder that at its core, the debate centers on whether their voices—and existence—are welcome in the United States.

So-called “dreamers,” who were brought into the country before they were sixteen years old and without legal immigration authorization, have long faced a variety of financial, legal and cultural obstacles in their pursuit of higher education. The DREAMing Out Loud workshops provide an avenue for Dreamers to build their sense of community on CUNY campuses in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, as they develop their writing and other skills for self-expression.

Susanne Nossel

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said: “At PEN America we recognize that freedom of speech depends upon conscious efforts to ensure that the most silenced voices in society are heard. Facing pressures that most Americans can scarcely imagine, these young writers have dared to tell their stories with candor and great insight. We are thrilled to be able to present their writings to the public amid a raging national debate about how we treat newcomers to this country, and whether we stand by the ideals enshrined in our constitution and embodied in our Statue of Liberty. We hope this collection gives readers a sense of the human faces and experiences behind the headlines, forcing us to confront the individual and collective costs of the societal choices we make and tolerate.”

Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), commented:

“The stories we tell shape our understanding of the world and ourselves as individuals and as a society. We are proud to support the important work of the DREAMing Out Loud program as it empowers DREAMers to tell unfiltered stories about what it means to be young immigrants. The publication of DREAMing Out Loud: Voices of Undocumented Students ensures that the voices of DREAMers will be heard in a field often dominated by political rhetoric—and it recognizes the importance of these stories to our collective understanding of the true American experience.”

MOME supported PEN America’s successful application for a Mayor’s Cultural Impact Grant from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and gave matching funds or the expansion of the program.

The writing reflects the duality of the young authors’ existence and the richness of their cultural backgrounds: they ruminate about their lives, sometimes with longing and sometimes with sadness, as memories and connections fade.

“At first the border between my immediate family in America and the rest of my family in Mexico was mitigated by calls which became fewer and shorter through the years. The border grew wider and thicker until it completely filled the space between us,” writes workshop participant Yesica Balderrama in her essay.

Other writers look critically at American society and its treatment of immigrants. “She’d also watched shows and movies about the U.S. that portrayed America as though it was the place to be so much so that was somehow inevitable that she ended up here. And yet after shoving America’s so-called greatness down everyone’s throat the powers that be castigated people like her for wanting a slice of the American pie,” writes workshop participant Ophelia Kanjo.

In his introduction, Enrigue writes:

“This book gives testimony of one of the most extreme and literary ways of being an American writer in our days. As with Segismundo, the members of the DREAMers Workshop Project have a constant persistent consciousness about the fact that our peaceful everyday life is not given but something we have to fight for, staying strong and alert and outsmarting the system every damned minute of our lives. Resistance is a topic for most of us, for a DREAMer it is breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

PEN America created the DREAMing Out Loud workshops in 2016 to counter the anti-immigrant sentiment on the rise in the United States and to amplify the voices of many living in this country who are marginalized because of their immigration status, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or simply for being perceived as “other.”

A potent and inspiring example of PEN America’s dual mission to celebrate literature and writing as an essential form of free expression, the program is also a means to build a diverse talent pipeline for careers in the literature and publishing industries. The program offers tuition-free writing workshops for the students in New York City. This year, the program was expanded with a Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact. The expansion included new City University of New York sites in the Bronx at Lehman College, Flushing at Queens College & Central Brooklyn at Medgar Evers College and strengthened professional development.

PEN America has a long history defending and championing all voices, along with a commitment to the idea that cross-cultural exchange is essential to a free flow of discourse.

Amid a climate of retrenchment in principaled American leadership both around the globe and within our borders, open discourse is a potent catalyst for cross-cultural understanding, cooperation and progress. The PEN World Voices Festival, founded in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 to broaden avenues of dialogue between the United States and the world, is perhaps the best known public program devoted to this mission. The weeklong annual festival has presented writers and artists from 118 countries speaking 56 languages.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)(July 2019)
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review (July 2019)
Upcoming in digital publications:
* The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice (August 2019)

A busy though bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Levure littéraireRamingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, HerStry, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander CoveI Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, Woven Tale PressThe Compass Rose and California Woman.

I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a virtual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor. Among others, I’ve been featured on The MethoBlog, on the Plumb Tree’s Wednesday Poet’s Corner, and several times as Second Light Live featured poet.

Email me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions or commissions.

CELEBRATING MOTHERS’ DAY (U.S.) Part 1: Those Infamous New York Moms

 

1950 Brooklyn, NY – my mother, Zbaida, and me

“A woman in Brooklyn decided to prepare her will. She told her rabbi she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated. Second, she wanted her ashes scattered over the local shopping mall.

‘Why the shopping mall?’ asked the rabbi.

‘Then I’ll be sure my daughters will visit me twice a week.’



Note: This is the first in a three-part series celebrating Mothers’ Day, which is this Sunday. All the pieces were published some time ago – here and/or elsewhere and it just feels right to publish again this year. I hope you’ll enjoy this short series … And Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers and to all the dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and older siblings who are covering for moms who are gone.

I met my Jewish friend, Laurel, when she came to a meeting at our local Insight Meditation Center on the San Francisco Peninsula where we now live. Laurel and I  got on right away. We both like Broadway shows, opera, reading, writing, and good meals seasoned with great conversation. We’re both from New York and we’re about the same age. So we come from the same time and the same place.

Now New York moms get a bad rap, especially Jewish moms – but none of us gets off free. Laurel reminded me of that with a stereotypical New York joke at the expense of mothers. These jokes usually illustrate moms making caustic remarks or tell of their attempts to foster guilt in adult children. While we do use regional idioms and have a distinct style of delivery, I’m really not sure that mothers from our time and place had the corner on either caustic commentary or the laying on of guilt.

Like all of us, my mother was very much in process and very much a product of her place and time. Among other things, what that means is that modesty was a primary concern. For my Catholic mother this included modest dress, which in turn included girdles. Now I’ve got to tell you that until I hit forty I was mostly underweight. In fact at Christmas when I was nineteen, I was ninety-three pounds, stood 5′ 3 1/2″, and was three months pregnant with my son. Nonetheless, from seventh grade and until her death when I was forty-four, my mother was adamant that I should wear a girdle so that I wouldn’t “jiggle.” That would be immodest and unseemly. Only my mother, I would think, would put me through this torture for nothing. As my husband said, “What’s to jiggle? If she turned sideways and stuck out her tongue she’d look like a zipper.”

Those old, typically New York jokes at the expense of our mothers were funny because there’s an element of truth in them. They did pave the pathways to their homes and hearts with guilt. They could be cruelly caustic. Often, their fall-back position was stone-cold silence. They were as tough as life. They tended to be rigid and narrow on some subjects; their lives woefully circumscribed. Often they were unworldly and painfully unread. But they were also largely present.

They were idealistic. They worked hard, often at jobs as well as at home. Many of them worked for hours each week to make the most unbelievably complex old world dinners for traditional Sundays that included religious services and family gatherings. No matter how difficult things got, they did not resort to drugs or alcohol. They got us into the best schools they could afford and kept us in school for as long as they could afford to do so. They protected us from young men who did not have “honorable” intentions. Though they’d never admit to us that they were really pleased with us, they would proudly show photographs of us to all their friends and boast of our accomplishments.

In the parlance of the sixties, it took me years to understand where they were “coming from.” You can tell by the posture in the photo that ends this post, that well into my thirties, I was still struggling with mixed feelings. The reason in this particular case: Before I left for work, I left money on the kitchen table for a pizza. I called home at 5:00 p.m. as I was leaving the office and asked Mom if she’d order the pizza right away because I was “starving.” I got home and “binged”: I ate one slice of pizza and left the crust. “I thought you were hungry,” Mom said. “I was. Now I’m stuffed.”  The fact that I was in my thirties and still “eating like a bird” and underweight disturbed her. In turn, I was disturbed because she was still trying to tell me how to eat, which given my habits was a legitimate concern.  I do the same sorts of things to my son now, not about food, but about other things. Mom’s long gone now, but often I think of her and wish she was here nagging me to clean my plate.


♥ ♥ ♥

© 2011, words and photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


ABOUT

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Rescue Press; Spoken Word, Open Mic (Southhampton, NY); Poetry, Music, Open Mic (Bayshore, NY)

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Today RESCUE PRESS announced its fall line-up of books. This “is an independent publisher of chaotic and investigative work, founded in the winter of 2009. We publish work by activists, artists, craftsmen, list-makers, philosophers, poets, scientists, writers, and creative thinkers of all kinds. We’re interested in collections of artwork, comics, essays, experiments, how-tos, interrogations, manifestos, notes, poetry, stories, and anything else that transforms us.”  Rescue press reads submissions twice a year: Their first reading period is coming up – January – for book-length prose submissions. So, time enough for you to polish those manuscripts.  The second reading period – June –  is when poetry submissions are accepted for the Block Box Poetry Prize.

HEADS-UP LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK 

*** SPOKEN WORD, SOUTHAMPTON ***
Friday, November 11 at 7 PM – 9 PM EST, Hampton Coffee Company Southampton Coffee Experience,
749 County Road 39A, Southampton, New York 11968

Maggie Bloomfield presents: An Evening of East End Poets and Sublime Caffeination with Fabulous Featured Poets:  L. B. Thompson, Brian Cudzilo, Susan Dingle,  Adrienne Unger, Russ Green, and Michelle Whittaker

Open mic to follow. Be there at 6:30 pm sign up to read.

***POETRY IN DOWNTOWN BAY SHORE!***
Saturday, November 12 at 7 PM – 9:30 PM EST – Cyrus: Chai & Coffee Company, 1 Railroad Plz, Bay Shore, New York 11706.

Join hosts Matt Pasca and Terri Muuss every second Saturday at Cyrus’ for the kind of poetry, coffee, treats and open mic experience you’ve been looking for!!! Our features will move and inspire you with their honesty and scintillating presence. Open mic follows features, so bring your ukulele, cello, double bass, guitar, sonnets, spoken word, villanelles and more!

NOEL QUINONES is a writer, performer, and educator raised in the Bronx. Quiñones’ writing explores the spirituality of languages, the meanings of diasporic identity, and the ancient and present art of verse. A CantoMundo, Brooklyn Poets, and Emerging Poets Fellow at Poets House, he was most recently a member of the 2016 Bowery Poetry Slam team. He has performed at historic locations such as Lincoln Center, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Apples and Snakes – London. His work has appeared in The Acentos Review, Pilgrimage Press, Kweli Journal, and Asymptote. Follow him @NQNino322 http://www.elninoquinones.com/about.html

SARA MORGAN is a scenic carpenter, artist, and electrician by day and a poet by night, having been recently outted by her boss as a writer. She has performed her spoken word with InspiredWordNYC, Rimes of the Ancient Mariner, and ESTLastCall. She holds degrees in Anthropology, Linguistics, and African Studies from the University of Iowa and draws upon her love of and fascination with the culture, history, and tongues of the peoples of the world in her writing. Her writing is a mix of prose, poetry, and storytelling, and she hopes to use her newly discovered voice to affect social change. A native of Arkansas via Chicago, Iowa, and East Africa, Sara currently lives in Harlem.