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April 04, 2014

A Two-Day Festival of Poetry, April 26-27, 2014
Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal

On Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, in celebration of National Poetry Month, MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design presents Poetry in Motion Springfest, in partnership with the Poetry Society of America, the nation's oldest poetry organization. The program was inspired by New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe, Arts for Transit's de facto Poet in Residence, who is dedicated to bringing poetry to everyone in the metropolitan area.

The celebration is free and open to the public and takes place in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days, featuring a variety of poetry activities:

The Poet is In: an array of award-winning poets, including NY State Poet Laureate Marie Howe, Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang and Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poetry Café, will sit in a booth (inspired by Lucy's booth from the Peanuts comic strip) and write poems for those who request one;

Two interactive installations from students of Poetry Everywhere, a collaborative class taught by Howe and Gabriel Barcia-Colombo at the Interactive Telecommunications Program, Tisch School of the Arts: Vital Signs: Pulse Poemsby Sarah Rothberg, which projects verses based on a reader's pulse, and Deer Dearby Yu-Ting Feng, which invites the viewer to help a deer with writer's block compose a poem;

  • The Poet is You: writing activities for young people to compose poems and display them (ages 6 and up; space is limited. RSVP required. Register at www.nycharities.com)
  • Poetry Projections from the popular program Poetry in Motion® will be projected on walls, designed by artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo;
  • The Human Mic: Call-and-response recitations of poems by American poets Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Lucille Clifton. (No previous experience necessary.)
  • Music Under New York: A variety of musicians from the MUNY program will perform throughout the festival.
  • …And other surprise guests!

"Springfest brings our beloved Poetry in Motion® program to a grand setting, with a weekend of poetry and music inside the elegant Vanderbilt Hall. Millions of riders discover poetry in subway cars, but Springfest gives them the opportunity to experience firsthand the feeling of reciting and writing it. Whether it is meeting poets or engaging in one of the interactive installations, there will be so many ways to create a personal moment in an inspiring public space," said Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design.

"The Poetry Society of America is committed to placing poetry at the crossroads of American life, and Grand Central Terminal is an ideal arena for fulfilling this mission. The PSA is honored to collaborate with MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design and New York State's Poet Laureate Marie Howe and all the other marvelous artists and poets who will contribute to this exuberant feast of literary and artistic offerings. Come one, come all to Vanderbilt Hall on April 26 and 27, 2014," said Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America.

For a full schedule of events, please consult www.mta.info/art or www.poetrysociety.org/events

About MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design

MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design (AFT) encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. The permanent art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of public art in the world, with over 300 commissioned works by world famous, mid-career and emerging artists. AFT produces award-winning graphic art, photography installations and musical performances through Music Under New York where live music is heard throughout the MTA transit system in more than 7,500 performances annually. In 2012 Arts for Transit relaunched the Poetry in Motion program with the Poetry Society of America. For more information, please visit www.mta.info/art.

About Poetry Society of America

The Poetry Society of America, the nation's oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910. Its mission is to build a larger and more diverse audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the vitality and breadth of poetry in the cultural conversation, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life. For more information, please visit www.poetrysociety.org.

About New York State Poet Marie Howe

Marie Howe's most recent book, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time(W. W. Norton, 2009) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her other collections of poetry include What the Living Do (W.W. Norton, 1998) and The Good Thief (Persea, 1988), which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. Her other awards include grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Bunting Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught at Tufts University and Dartmouth College, among others. Currently she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She has served as New York State Poet Laureate since 2012.

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo
Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is a New Media artist whose work has been featured across the globe. He has participated in art fairs in Switzerland, Paris and London as well as public exhibitions at the New York Public Library and the DUMBO Arts Festival. He is a 2014 Senior TED fellow, and teaches at Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. His work focuses on memorialization and, more specifically, the act of leaving one's imprint for the next generation. While formally implemented by natural-history museums and collections (which find their roots in Renaissance-era "cabinets of curiosity"), this process has grown more pointed and pervasive in the modern-day obsession with personal digital archiving and the corresponding growth of social media culture. His video sculptures play upon this exigency in our culture to chronicle, preserve and wax nostalgic, an idea which Barcia-Colombo renders visually by "collecting" human beings (alongside cultural archetypes) as scientific specimens.