Poetry of the Woods: Poetry Reading and Photography Exhibit Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Henry David Thoreau
As part of the ongoing celebration of Henry David Thoreau’s life and legacy, the Griffin Museum of Photography presents the photography of acclaimed photographer Koichiro Kurita, and the poetry of award-winning Salem State University Poets January O’Neil, J.D. Scrimgeour, Ann Taylor, and Elisabeth Weiss.
Koichiro Kurita’s work from the project Beyond Spheres will be exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography throughout April and May. This collaboration among photographer and poets explores the extraordinary possibilities of poetry and visual art to reveal the timeless, natural beauty of Thoreau’s landscapes.
The poets will read works inspired by the photography in the collection, and will be available after the reading for an artists’ talk/Q&A session.
Born in Japan, Koichiro Kurita attended Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe. He studied perceptual psychology and used a camera for his experimental research when he was a college student. The American writer, poet, philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau has been a great inspiration to Kurita since he read “Walden” in the mid-1980s. His encounter with this book set him on a new path. He gave up his career of commercial photography and has been working with nature landscapes for more than 25 years. Kurita’s works have been exhibited internationally and collected by numerous museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Harvard Art Museums, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the George Eastman Museum, the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, the Biblioteque Nationale de France, Paris, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and many others. Kurita is represented by 555 Gallery/Boston.
January Gill O’Neil is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival (www.masspoetry.org) and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University. She is the author of Misery Islands (2014) and Underlife (2009), both published by CavanKerry Press. A third poetry collection, Rewilding, will be published by CavanKerry Press in 2018. Misery Islands was selected by Mass Center for the Book as a Must-Read Book for 2015, and won the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award. In 2015, January was elected to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ (AWP) board of trustees. She lives with her two children in Beverly, MA.
J.D. Scrimgeour has published two collections of poetry, The Last Miles and Territories, as well as two collections of nonfiction, including Themes For English B: A Professor’s Education In and Out of Class, which won the AWP Award for Nonfiction. With musician Philip Swanson he formed the performance group, Confluence, and released a CD of poetry and music, Ogunquit & Other Works. His third poetry collection, Lifting the Turtle (Turning Point) will be published in November, 2017. He runs the Creative Writing program at Salem State University.
Ann Taylor is Professor of English at Salem State University. She has written two books on college writing, academic and free-lance essays, and a collection of personal essays, Watching Birds: Reflections on the Wing (Ragged Mountain/McGraw Hill). Her first poetry book, The River Within, won first prize in the Cathlamet Poetry competition at Ravenna Press. A second book, Bound Each to Each, was published by Finishing Line Press. She has recently completed a collection of poems on the medieval scholars and lovers, Heloise and Abelard and is working on a third collection of poems, In No Time at All.
Elisabeth Weiss teaches writing at Salem State University. She’s taught poetry in preschools, prisons, and nursing homes and as well as to the intellectually disabled. She’s worked at Harper & Row in New York and has an MFA from The University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She’s published poems in London’s Poetry Review, Porch, Crazyhorse, Ibbetson Street Review, the Birmingham Poetry Review and the Paterson Literary Review. Lis was won the 2016 Talking Writing Hybrid Poetry Prize for 2016 and was a runner up in the 2013 Boston Review poetry contest. Her chapbook, The Caretaker’s Lament, was published in 2016.
Admission is free. Refreshments will be served.