back to stanza one
In unremarkable fashion, January turned into February and February turned into March and suddenly, it seemed, we awoke to a new way of life. A year of presidential elections, summer Olympics, and impending space travel promised 2020 to be a memorable year. And then stories of a novel coronavirus ravaging communities in South Korea and China and Italy evolved from neatly packaged international news to become our largest shared domestic concern. It was becoming clear that those of use who arrive to the other side of this will arrive changed.
All around us, the record of this time is being compiled with and without our direct attention. Newspapers, podcasts, even our cell phone data, will outlast us and be interpreted in ways beyond our prediction. Meanwhile, the nature of this virus has robbed us of our ability to be in creative communion with one another in many of the ways and spaces that we're used to. For our shared physical survival we have paused the very practices that have allowed us for centuries to outlast ourselves, to insist that our own tellings of our lives - through shared music and stories and dance - will remain despite any who would seek to erase them.
Navigating headlines of illness and economic peril amidst fluctuating daily routines and self-isolation, I find myself asking: whose stories will survive this time? who will be lost? and naturally, how does this lived experience of a significant global event - one of the first of my own lifetime in which I am old enough to be privy to it's full political and personal impacts - alter the lens through which I look backwards into history? how have I, a theatre artist whose business it is to parse out truth in moments of human experience, so often overlooked the very individual emotional histories that make History worth study?
In light of these questions, "52x52" aims to create a digital diary of poetry accompanied by curated mixed media to add an explicitly more emotional perspective to our collective record of this time. Each week we will release a new diary entry of an artist reading a poem - either previously published or original - and offering their reflections in an effort to emotionally timestamp this year. I hope that this will offer each of us participating, be that as generators or consumers, an encounter with new poets, their remarkable words, and the ongoing process of building adaptive creative community.