It’s time to put poems on Columbia’s buses again, and this time we are thinking about time!
Calendars, clocks, alarms, schedules, timetables. The seasons, holidays, weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, the sun and the moon. The clock on the scoreboard, the calendar of migrating birds at the feeder. When the tulips bloom, when the ginkos turn gold, and when pollen coats everything. What marks time in your neighborhood—school buses, the mail truck, the leaf-blowers on Saturday morning? Church bells and calls to prayer. Rites of passage, growing up, growing old, fitness regimes and family reunions. How do we measure the passage of time, how do you experience time?
2015 we told the stories of the city. In 2017, we saw poems about rivers. In
2018, we thought about how we experience the city, what separates us and what
unites us. We’ve been mapping the geography and spaces of the city, so now we
want to think about the times and seasons of the city.
Requirements: Poems should be 10 lines or fewer and should address the theme. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. DEADLINE MARCH 16. (Earlier submissions appreciated.)
Emergency Care can be a disorienting experience. Things may
happen very quickly, or you may find yourself waiting and unsure. In an attempt
to provide information and reassurance for those who find themselves in Emergency
Care, Prisma Health has released a helpful trifold guide. On the back, there is
a poem by Ed Madden, the poet laureate of Columbia, South Carolina.
Launched at Prisma Health’s Richland Hospital in Columbia on July 17, the guides are now being distributed in Emergency Care departments in Prisma Health hospitals in Columbia and surrounding areas.
The poem is the first project of a Prisma Health poetry team,
an initiative first imagined by Alexandra Toney with assistance from Dawn Hill,
an organization development consultant for Prisma Health. Toney was a student
in Madden’s fall 2018 Creative Writing and Community class at the University of
South Carolina. For that class, she led a group project placing poems of hope
in hospital waiting rooms. Impressed with that work, Hill invited her to help
with the guide and with an ongoing poetry inititative for the hospital system.
Toney invited Madden to write a poem for the guide.
To write the poem, Madden said that he thought about his own
experiences with family in hospitals. “You feel very isolated,” he said of
emergency care. He said that he wanted to write a short reflection, “a short
little prayer-like poem about being in that space and that time.” Instead of
isolation, he explained, he was “thinking about everyone in that room as part
of one community.” It is “a space within which all these very different people
are gathered, but really all for one common goal, which is to heal someone.”
The untitled poem reads:
for the lights, the charts for hands and hearts
for those who heal for those who are healed
for the time it takes
for those who listen and those who watch
for those who care for those we care for
for all those here
“The overall goal,” Toney added, “is to offer comfort to
whoever needs it.”
The Emergency Care guide is the first project approved by
the system’s new Patient and Family Advisory Council, which works to ensure
that patient and family perspectives are included.
See this video for insight into both Toney’s healthcare poetry project and Madden’s poem.
Created as part of the annual ArtLinc chalk art festival in the Lincoln Street Tunnel with my husband Bert Easter. Full text below photo.
Every day the same, here along
the road, the cups and bottles people toss
away, the things we shed, evidence
of our careless lives. The wind does
what it can, the vines that hide our trash
with green–still there. May we turn to see
what we have done. May we better care
for what we’re given, here beside the rivers.
City Poet Laureate Puts Poems on Coffee “River Poems” project brings poetry to the people during the month of April
COLUMBIA SC April 8, 2016 – The City of Columbia Poet Laureate Ed Madden is pleased to announce a new project in conjunction with National Poetry Month. Poems from eight Columbia-based poets about the rivers have been stamped on coffee sleeves to be distributed at area coffee shops, Drip (locations on Main and in Five Points) and Wired Goat (locations in The Vista and Chapin).
The Columbia-based poets that have provided poems for the project include Jennifer Bartell, Betsy Breen, Jonathan Butler, Bugsy Calhoun, Monifa Lemons Jackson, Len Lawson and Ray McManus as well as Ed Madden.
“As a project for the poet laureate, last year and this year both, we put poems on the buses. We had already decided the theme this year would be the river, because it is the theme for Indie Grits, but I think the flood added additional urgency to the theme,” says Madden. Along with the bus project, the second project this year was to put the poems on coffee sleeves. “We’ve been trying to think of ways to promote poetry in unexpected places, so coffee sleeves felt like a really obvious place to put poetry,” says Madden. “You can drink your morning cup and read a poem about where you live.”
April is National Poetry Month and over the past 20 years has become “the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.”
The owner of Drip, Sean McCrossin explains why they participated, saying “I feel that one of the roles of a coffee shop is to offer a platform from which people can express themselves. That is why I was very excited when Lee from one Columbia asked us to be part of this project! Everyone in Columbia was effected by the flood (or knows someone that was) and to read what some of our great South Carolina poets had to write about it and have a good cup of coffee hopefully reminds us that art can express things that we sometimes are unable to express ourselves.”
Wired Goat owner, Jessamine Stone agreed to participate for a similar reason, saying “We got involved in the project to connect with our community and to raise awareness about the fantastic literary talent we have right here in South Carolina.”
The poets have come together to stamp the poems on over 10,000 coffee sleeves and the project will run through the full month at four different coffee shop locations.
In January 2015, the City of Columbia, SC appointed it’s first poet laureate, Dr. Ed Madden. Charged with “encouraging appreciation and creating opportunities for dissemination of poetry in Columbia, promoting the appreciating and knowledge of poetry among the youth, and to act as a spokesperson for the growing number of poets and writers in Columbia.”