October 5, 2012

The Olmsted Parks Poetry Project: Exploring the Poetic Nature of Public Spaces

3:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. | Meet on the back steps of Albright Knox Art Gallery

Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American Landscape architecture, was brought to Buffalo in 1868 with a vision to design “a city within a park.”  His legacy includes the expansive green necklace of parks and parkways running through the city of Buffalo—a place Olmsted would call the best planned city in America. In celebration of Buffalo State's "Year of the City" initiative, the Rooftop Poetry Club invites you to learn more about the genius of Olmsted and the poetic nature of public spaces. Join us for poetry in the park.

Our third workshop in the series will take place on Friday, October 5th from 3:00-5:00 p.m., featuring poet Jonathan Skinner. Please meet on the back steps of the Albright Knox Art Gallery (we will be taking a “poetry walk” to Delaware Park’s pedestrian loop).  To attend this free workshop, please RSVP to forresla@buffalostate.edu.

Can we "read" Frederick Law Olmsted as we might read one of the great American poets or artists? Olmsted's art has been overgrown by its successes: many of his closest "readers" do not realize that these parks were made, nor have they even heard of Olmsted. Yet Olmsted clearly saw himself as an artist; he also frequently resorted to musical metaphors when describing the effects of his park designs. Like the poet, the artist or the composer, the parkÔÇÉmaker works with materials acting on us indirectly. In this poetry walk, through readings, onsite discussion, and writing exercises, we'll consider some of those materials and effects, gain appreciation for how Olmsted's parks are composed, and consider their changing relationships with the urban environment. Check out Jonathan’s blog at http://olmstedsparks.wordpress.com/.

Jonathan Skinner founded and edits the journal ecopoetics <http://www.ecopoetics.org>, which features creative-critical intersections between writing and ecology. His poetry collections include Birds of Tifft (BlazeVOX, 2011) and Political Cactus Poems (Palm Press, 2005). Skinner has published critical essays on Charles Olson, Ronald Johnson, Lorine Niedecker, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Bernadette Mayer, translations of French poetry and garden theory, essays on bird song from the perspective of ethnopoetics, and essays on horizontal concepts such as the Third Landscape and on Documentary Poetry. Currently, he is writing a book of investigative poems on the urban landscapes of Frederick Law Olmsted, and a critical book on Animal Transcriptions in contemporary poetry.

Open to: everyone