+ landscape / heartbreak is now a chapbook you can (buy and) hold in your hand!
+ landscape / heartbreak was featured on Speaking of Marvels
+ Out of Our Minds radio program is the second longest continuous poetry radio show in America. Host JP Dancing Bear asks Michelle questions about landscape / heartbreak.
+ Anca Szilagyi on Ploughshares' blog on walking and writing with a shoutout to landscape / heartbreak
+ landscape / heartbreak featured at the Henry's Summer Field Studies exhibit
People took me on walks from Seattle's Richard Hugo House to specific places in Seattle where they’ve had their hearts broken. Broken hearts not only applied to romantic love, but to trauma of any kind that my volunteers were willing to share. I wrote poems and created maps in response to these walking conversations, which are now a chapbook out from Two Sylvias Press!
I was interested in itineraries--poems based in movement through landscape--and the way that movement leads to epiphany, meditation, and memory. Also, I was invested in poetry as a means to process trauma; how do we form our memories within the context of our physical landscapes? How do our physical surroundings mark our internal landscapes? What kind of story can a city tell if this isn't just the corner of Broadway and John, but the corner where X learned that Y never really loved him? Or if this isn't just the hospital across the street, but the place where Z told her mother she loved her for the very last time? How does access to the narratives of the people in a city change the way we experience that city's physical landscape?
Two life events lead to the creation of landscape / heartbreak: someone broke my heart and I went on a very long walk.
Yup. Into many pieces. It's much better now. Moving to Seattle, developing and finally completing this project was a huge part of that.
Yup. I participated as a featured artist on The Long Walk, a work of land art featuring elements of performance and social engagement. For my part, I led the participants in an Itinerant Poetry Workshop. For four days, I spent eight to ten hours a day walking with the same group of 50 people; time took on an accordion-effect. The way you’d get to know someone over the course of a year happened in the course of a day on The Long Walk. Something about walking and communal movement through physical landscape allowed us to traverse the narratives of our internal, emotional landscapes and enhanced the quality of our conversations, allowing for generosity and mutual catharsis.
These conversations stayed with me, followed me around, and were part of what eventually brought me to Seattle.
Hey, thanks! The project is now complete. Many thanks to the twenty-two remarkable people who took me on walks throughout Seattle.
The book is now done! Two Sylvias Press released it on Valentine's Day, 2015. You can find the book online (here or here) or in person at Elliott Bay Book Company and Open Books: A Poem Emporium. You can also "like" the project over on the 'ole facebooks. Thanks!
See my readings & events page for updates.
Minda and Solon Alimario, Cristen and Allan Alimario, Ally Dean, Laurie Lynn Drummond, Sam Jones, Angelina Penaloza, and Jennifer Towner