I created A Walking Poets’ Library, inspired by William Wordsworth’s long autobiographical poem, The Prelude, to ask: how can poems be more like conversations? Wordsworth's poem was centrally interested in friendships built around shared walks and conversations—and the poem itself was only shared with friends during the poet's lifetime. A Walking Poets Library, a temporary civic institution housed in Josiah McElheny’s Prismatic Park installation in Madison Square Park, focused on writing and walking as intimate encounters. AWPL’s goal was the creation of a short-term public space to support the emotional and intellectual complexity of small-scale publishing and one-on-one conversation.
Between July 4 and July 8, 2017, the library hosted writing and bookmaking workshops and salon-style conversations led by academics, artists, and activists.
A Walking Poets’ Library was supported by Poets House and the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Participating artists included: Hossannah Asuncion, Cholë Bass, Ian Dreiblatt, Naomi Extra, Anna Gurton-Wachter, Brenda Iijima, Wendy Lee, Ricardo Maldonado, Kate McIntyre, Jeff Peterson, Rossana Rossi, and Emily Skillings, along with an army of volunteers
Mississippi Walking Poems
Mississippi Walking Poems was a ten-day “poetic research project” on walking, intimacy, friendship, and poetry. As part of Minnesota Center for Book Arts' Summer 2016 gallery show, "The River," I took a series of ten walks by the Mississippi River with friends and/or strangers, after each of which I composed a poem for my walking companion. After I'd shared the poems with my companions, I asked them to choose: either to keep the poems for themselves as a memento of our conversation, or to allow them to be shared either through a live reading and/or in printed form, as part of a hand-made poetry chapbook, which I published in an edition of 60.
The Letterpress Shanty
The Letterpress Shanty was a collaboration between MC Hyland, Jeff Peterson, and Jonathon Peterson during the 2012 Art Shanty Projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bringing the art of hand-printing from moveable type to the ice of Medicine Lake, the Letterpress Shanty's team of collaborators and volunteers hand-typeset, printed, and distributed 9 issues of a collaboratively-authored free daily broadside newspaper, The Shantyquarian.
All content for The Shantyquarian was sourced from online social networking sites, shanty artists, and on-site visitors. Contributions came from locations from around the world, including Alabama, New York, Paris, and Dublin.