Walking Salons

Every weekday, A Walking Poets Library will run an hour-long salon on a topic related to the library’s overall interests and aims. These salons are a chance to explore Madison Square Park (and possibly some of the surrounding neighborhood), with presentations, mini-workshops, and/or performances by artists, scholars, and poets.


Thursday, July 6, noon-1pm: “Bodies in Cities

Aleijuan: “The Love Letter Interactive”

What are colors, sights, and sounds that inspire passion within u? Let’s TALK through music, words, and movement to illuminate that sweet spot. U can even have a personalized love letter sent to u, or to a loved one.

Ian Dreiblatt: “for I am a sojourner”

An attempt to think through ancient ideas about migration and settlement and the ways those ideas continue to resonate.

Brenda Iijima: Did you hear what the sky just asked?

Recently the Ganges and Yamuna rivers were granted the same legal rights as human beings. Should all ecological presences have legal rights? During this guided activity participants will gather questions from the ecosystem and ask questions to other living presences within the ecosystem. What questions are coming forth through the resonance of the surround—how are rocks, the cement, the atmosphere, the trees, fellow homo sapiens, insects, the grass, etc. interacting and most specifically, questioning what we, the great ape participants are up to? Instead of humans always asking questions, how might we perceive others’ inquiries? How does the notion of “rights” fit into the responses we receive?


Wednesday, July 5, noon-1pm: “Intimacy

Chloë Bass: #sky #nofilter: What we share beyond death

A meditative reading from Chloë Bass’ ongoing personal essay #sky #nofilter, featuring memories from July 2016 coupled with (your own) sky-scapes from July 2017. Please bring a smartphone (or other camera). Mobility permitting, this activity may require you to sit, or lie, on the ground.

Naomi Extra: “For Us By Us”: Black Feminist Intimate Expression in the Era of Black Lives Matter

This talk is a meditation on the myriad ways in which black women artists are engaging with themes of the Black Lives Matter movement and the intimate (sonically, visually, and lyrically) as part of a practice of self-care. The talk explores scenes of black female intimacy in multiple contexts including Solange’s album “A Seat At the Table,” the web series “Brown Girls” and the television show “Queen Sugar.”[for images to be used in this talk, click here]

Anna Gurton-Wachter: Imagined Intimacies and Ecstatic Interruptions

A guided writing exercise that starts with the idea of a domino logic of imagined intimacies and ecstatic interruption. We will conjure up spaces that resonate with the act of hiding and then allow ourselves to be interrupted by celebrity figures, gods, authors, artists and other looming persona. We will play with these figures, allowing them to quickly change the scale of our narratives, becoming vehicles for objects and ideas to speak through them, continuing to interrupt our giddy hiding space by elevating the act of hiding to include impossible intimacies and newfound friends.

Wendy Lee: Armrest

This is an exercise about support. What happens when you know another person will support the weight of your arms and/or hands? What happens when you give simple, weight-bearing support?


Tuesday, July 4, 6:30-7:30pm: “The Public and the Private” 

MC Hyland: “A Short History of the Commons”

This short talk and discussion will look at the history of “commons,” from English villages to online knowledge reserves. What does it mean to share space with one another? How have people coexisted in the past, and what kinds of spaces do we share now? In our discussion, we’ll look at myths of the commons, as well as strategies for resource-sharing we can adapt from commons-based traditions.

Ricardo Maldonado: “Isla​/​Mainland – On(e) Puerto Rico”

To ​reckon, out of sorts, with debt and two languages; a psychology for the island. A workshop on assemblage/collage drawing from government documents, finance and the law, field reports & creative work in Spanish​/Spanglish (​from Julia de Burgos, Pedro Pietri and Rafael Acevedo to ​Urayoán Noel and Marigloria Palma​​​). A kind of translation will be attempted; cribbed materials will be provide​d​ for those unfamiliar with the Spanish language.

Kate McIntyre:  “Plantations and Parks: Ecological Management and Surveillance in the New World”

European colonization in the Western hemisphere carried with it not only newly racialized political systems but also a new agricultural system. The plantation, a monocultural space of division, containment, and classification, underscored and reinforced the rapid development of scientific racism. If the 18th century inaugurated the era of the privately-owned plantation–which nevertheless supported the sovereign agenda of colonialism–the 19th marked the ascendancy of the public park. How are thes ecological systems connected? How are they distinct, and what ideological investments are embedded in each? In our contemporary public park, we will consider how these histories register in the present, not only in our more explicitly political struggles, but also in the ostensibly public spaces we share. Who is safe in public spaces? How is that space managed, and what kinds of surveillance operate through spaces marked for public leisure rather than private labor?

Rossana Inés Rossi: “The Green Among Us”

Between the cracks in concrete sidewalks and brick windowsills, dotting forgotten patches of construction fill dirt, and flourishing in the backyards of any tenement apartment or city park, just how do plants manage to live in these harsh places? And, why is that important to us, their co-habitants in this city environment? Ultimately, what are their names and what can they teach us? Join Rossana the Herbalist for an intimate Walking Salon in one of the loneliest landscapes in contemporary society: the metropolitan city.






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