Presented by The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and [storefront] Olson Kundig, The Poet Is In was designed to explore the numerous ways in which people create and consume poetry in relation to the notion of punctum—the incidental details that trigger emotionally charged personal associations.
“The Poet Is In asked the question, ‘Can we inspire visitors off the street to engage with poetry—and actually write poetry—through a series of provocations inspired by photographs, and generated by poets in residence and the installation design?’” said Alan Maskin, principal/co-owner of Olson Kundig. “Like past [storefront] installations, The Poet Is In compelled the public to look closer through a series of social and design experiments.”
Historic images from MOHAI’s photographic collection served as stimulus for the poetry-focused interactive exhibits. “Utilizing poetry and spoken word as a means to connect with or make meaning from a historic image is a very exciting idea,” said Tara McCauley, MOHAI’s Education & Youth Programs Manager. “MOHAI’s photographic collection is vast and rich with imagery that reflects our shared human experience, and poetry in its nature aims to explore and interpret those experiences. The Poet Is In [brought] together poets, pictures and the public in a deliberately intimate space to see what [would] unfold.”
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