Poetry & the Senses

Flash Reading Series

April – May 2021

Weekly Releases

Find the archive of readings here.

In these continued changing times, ARC has taken the idea of a poetry festival and spread it out over a semester, online. The theme for Poetry & the Senses this past year has been emerge/ncy, and extends into the idea of voices we want to carry with us in imperiled times. We are interested in what is emergent or birthed at times of crisis, the voices that become maps, guideposts, and sustenance along the way.

In addition to larger monthly readings, we have also invited 20 Bay Area poets to be a part of a new Flash Readings Series. Each featured poet will give a 3-5 minute reading of one of their poems, related in some way to the theme. These short readings will be carried on our website and YouTube channel, and shared on social media. The Bay Area offers a rich, deep, and broad tapestry of voices – we could easily have tripled the number of reading slots and still barely skimmed the surface of wonder and beauty that surrounds us. We are lucky and grateful to these poets for participating in this celebration of community, for helping us think through and within crisis, understand moments of emergency as catalysts for renewal, as ruptures that signal massive—if painful—change, and lean into the possibility of rebirth and new beginnings.

The theme for 2021 is emerge/ncy. Motivating questions include, what kinds of poetic modes of address might be recruited in times of global catastrophe? How does poetry help us think through and within crisis? “Emergency” implies urgency, sudden harm, life-threatening violence, and extreme circumstances, but embedded within it is the word “emergence;” suggesting rebirth and new beginnings. How can we understand moments of emergency as catalysts for renewal, as ruptures that signal massive—if painful—change? 

In case you missed them, we are carrying the larger monthly readings online for the entire semester!

Links to ARC YouTube pages are provided on each event listing.
Please check out February’s reading with Safia Elhillo, Hieu Minh Nguyen, and Craig Santos Perez, and March’s conversation with Terrance Hayes and Simone White. On April 26, we hope you join us for a reading with Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. The series ends with the Poetry & the Senses Fellow Reading on May 10, featuring: reelaviolette botts-ward, Vethea Cole, Elizabeth Feng, Sara Mumalo, Ramona Naddaff, Ken Ueno, Noah Warren, and Maw Shein Win. Tune in to celebrate ARC’s eight dynamic fellows and the work they have created during their spring 2021 fellowship.

This event is part of the Arts Research Center’s Poetry & the Senses program, an ongoing initiative that explores the relevance and urgency of lyrical making and storytelling in times of political crisis, and the value of engaging the senses as an act of care, mindfulness, and resistance. Funded by the Engaging the Senses Foundation.