2021- The Year of the Poet

If you have followed Homegrown Stories over the years you know that many of the videos created for the project can be described as visual poetry- much like written words, images interact, expand, complement or challenge each other.

This year Homegrown Stories is pushing the visual poetics of the project by asking a poet to be our inspirational collaborator.  For this first installment, poet Melissa Ginsburg has submitted “Pastoral”.

We specifically asked our video artists to interpret the poem, rather than depend on Melissa’s reading of her poem.  The videos that result are like the poem- dark, quiet, haunting, revelatory, brutal, jarring.

Pastoral, by Melissa Ginsburg

I was unincorporated
I was without a body
I was lots
Not lots yet parcels

I was ground
Where the pipes will go
I was shrubs I was
Brush and the space

Between shacks I lacked
Governance I was
Lean-tos I was dens
In the earth and

Roots of the weak
Sweetgum I was pear
And turtle sunning
I was lungs un-

Breathing I was the site
On the horse’s neck
Where bats came
Nightly to feed I was

The blood coagulating
Into morning I was
Waiting for full dark
Again I was waiting

For the wound
To reopen I was led
To a tree a weak
Tree strung with nets

I was the bat hoping
To be caught I
Couldn’t heal myself
Fast enough

You can hear Melissa recite “Pastoral” at:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/08/pastoral

Element: Fire

Scientists consider the acquisition of fire as the defining property separating humans from animals. Fire is not possible without oxygen- to burn, fire requires the air we breathe. Fire illuminates our world as it consumes fuel but in the wake of its destruction, fire can also be the catalyst for new life.

In this final 2020 exploration of the four elements, participating artists have been playful, meditative and even mournful as they explore the many properties of Fire.