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River To River (the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s annual summer festival) looks a little different this year due to Covid-19, but there’s some incredible programming on deck all the same; Asiya Wadud’s ECHO EXHIBIT is one such project:

“Poems form in the space we make for them. Sometimes a few words rattle around our minds, with only the faintest context to give them shape. Sometimes there is a fleeting image we want to imprint — we want it to stay with us a little longer. If we sit with the image, we can watch it come into focus — we can take hold of the words, we write them down and watch the poem take its shape.

ECHO EXHIBIT is a moment for conversation and listening.”

The interactive (and incredibly cool) campaign (co-presented by LMCC and the Seaport District) will offer participants the chance to speak with a poet over the phone, and during the course of the fifteen minute call, the poet will help to create a poem using “the words, theme and tone of the conversation” to “capture the ideas, texture and sensations of that particular moment”.

Participating writers include Lara Atallah, Sevinç Çalhanoğlu, Chia-Lun Chang, Alisha Mascarenhas, Madison McCartha, Rebekah Smith and Asiya Wadud.

The conversations will be taking place from June 29th to July 3rd, Monday-Friday, 1pm-3pm ET; people who are available and interested in participating can sign up for a slot here. (Additionally, the conversations will be conducted in English unless otherwise requested. To request a conversation in American Sign Language, Mandarin, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Turkish or Russian, fill out this form instead.)

Children and adults are invited to participate, but callers are recommended to be ages 4+.

Whether or not you directly participate, be sure to check out the resulting poems, which are to be shared publicly as the collection grows.

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