Client: The Poetry Foundation
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $30,000
This “lightbox” installation for The Poetry Foundation, celebrates the value of connections: connector words that string together other words to make wonderful prose; connector people, centered on Patricia Smith, that bridge her ancestors to descendants; and poetry itself as the connector that brings each of us a bit closer to one another. The poems gathered throughout this installation as QR codes collectively create a “family tree” of work selected by Smith, tracing generative connections between poets past and present. Appearing in our palms with the aid of a technology based on weaving, these poems are both a call to our humanity and branches of the larger body of poems cared for in this building’s library, website, and magazine archives. In this installation, poems have been placed amid interwoven patterns of healing plants: ever expanding layers of beauty, nourished by rain.
The goal was to activate the public building while it was closed due to the pandemic. Secondarily was to signify a leadership change visually and to welcome the public to the idea that poetry is for everyone.