Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category
I’ve been producing videos this year for Emory’s Poets in Place project. I shot this video with Jake York back in January, and here’s the link to it on Southern Spaces. His poem is about the attack on a Freedom Rider bus outside Anniston, Alabama in May of 1961. Here is the text of the historical marker that stands where the bus was destroyed:
“On May 14, 1961, a Greyhound bus left Atlanta, GA carrying among its passengers seven members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a.k.a. the ‘Freedom Riders,’ on a journey to test interstate bus segregation. The bus was met by an angry mob at the bus station in Anniston, AL where tires were slashed and windows broken. Upon leaving Anniston, the bus was followed by the mob to this site where the driver stopped to change the tire. The crowd set the bus on fire and attacked passengers as they departed. The incident served to strengthen the resolve for the civil rights movement.”
Click here to see the video in a larger size.
From 2004 to 2006, I produced videos for the online scholarly journal Southern Spaces. The journal’s editor Allen Tullos developed a special kind of video content for the site: poets reading their work at the locations in which their poems are set. Words remain the foundation, but images and sounds can add new resonance and connections. I helped Allen produce a few of these videos, and, in the past couple years, my friend Matt Miller has done a great job of expanding the project.
The most special “Poets in Place” performance I helped produce was for Natasha Trethewey’s “Elegy for the Native Guards.” We met Natasha in Gulfport, Mississippi (her hometown) and traveled with her to Ship Island, where the Civil War-era Fort Massachusetts is located. This fort was home to the Louisiana Native Guards, one of the first African-American combat units to fight in the Civil War. As we winded down our shooting with Natasha, a group of African-American Civil War re-enactors arrived on the island via the ferry boat. It was almost as if Natasha’s poem had conjured up the Native Guard soldiers.
A couple months after we shot the video, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ship Island suffered major damage. The eastern part of the island was totally submerged, and the boardwalk, pier and visitor’s center next to the fort were destroyed.