Sep 17, 2016, 11:55AM

ICA Gather: I Wonder What Else Could Be Different Around Here: A Poetic Intersection with Music and Art featuring Yolanda Wisher, Dick Lourie, Natalie Diaz, and Christian Campbell


Presented by ICA Gather, a new programming series that presents special programs that are collaboratively produced in partnership with area community and campus groups:

A little Monk. A little Bessie. A little Langston. Legendary troubadour, poet, and blues saxman Dick Lourie joins Phily Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher and her band The Afroeaters for an intergenerational performance of blues and verse. They are joined by poets Natalie Diaz and Christian Campbell, who will also collaborate in a reading that engages the themes of creative freedom and resistance found in the exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, on view at ICA from September 14, 2016 to March 19, 2017.

The readings on the terrace will be preceded by “pop-up” readings throughout the gallery, near the works of art that inspired the Philadelphia poets commissioned to write ekphrastic poems for the event. This set features new work by Marie Alarcon, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Alina Pleskova, Lucia Gbaya-Kanga, Cindy Arrieu-King, Faye Chevalier, Stan Mir, Thomas Devaney, Kirwyn Sutherland, Warren Longmire, Sara Grossman, Lauren Yates, and Nico Amador.

DJ Cardigan, Anthony Romero, and DJ Halfbreed will spin mixes inspired by the exhibition, and Keegan Tawa will play a unique blend of jazz saxophone and original production.

This event is the closing celebration for PHILALALIA, an annual small press/hand made book fair and poetry/book arts festival taking place Thursday-Saturday, September 15-17, at Tyler School of Art on the main campus of Temple University. PHILALALIA includes a full schedule of readings, performances, and workshops at the book fair and at venues throughout Philadelphia.

This event is sponsored by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, The Leeway Foundation, Dock Street Brewery, Thread Makes Blanket Press, and APIARY Magazine.

Musician, poet, and editor DICK LOURIE grew up listening to and playing traditional American folk music. After taking up the saxophone in his 40s, he has concentrated on blues and other roots music. He is the author of the poetry collections Calls on the Dream Telephone (1968), Stumbling (1974), Anima (1978), Ghost Radio (1998), and If the Delta Was the Sea (2009), a collection of poems based on the history and music of Clarksdale, Mississippi, home of the Sunflower Blues and Gospel Festival, where Lourie has performed with international blues star Big Jack Johnson. He has also released two CDs based on the poems in his books—combining his sax playing and spoken word with a blues band—titled Ghost Radio Blues (2000) and If the Delta Was the Sea (2014). His poem “Forgiving Our Fathers” was featured in the movie Smoke Signals. A cofounder and still coeditor/publisher at Hanging Loose magazine and press, this year celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Lourie has edited more than 100 titles for the press as well as co-editing several collections of writing by high-school students with Mark Pawlak: Smart Like Me: High School Age Writing from the Sixties to Now (1966, 1989), Bullseye (1995), Shooting the Rat (2003), and When We Were Countries (2010). He was one of the founders of the New York State Poets in the Schools Program. Lourie lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

YOLANDA WISHER is the 2016–2017 Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia. Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose, 2014) and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song (City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, 2013). Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Fence, Chain, MELUS, and GOOD Magazine and the anthologies Gathering Ground and The Ringing Ear. Wisher is a 2016 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence, 2015 Pew Fellow, Center for Performance and Civic Practice Catalyst Initiative grantee (2015), Leeway Art & Change Award recipient (2008), and the inaugural Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate (1999). She holds an M.A in English/Creative Writing-Poetry from Temple University and a B.A. in English/Black Studies from Lafayette College. Wisher founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival (2006–2010) and served as Director of Art Education for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (2010–2015). She currently works as Chief Rhapsodist of Wherewithal for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.

NATALIE DIAZ was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University and the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program. She splits her time between the east coast and Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language.

CHRISTIAN CAMPBELL is a poet, scholar and cultural critic. His acclaimed first book, Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press), won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize (UK) and was a finalist for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection (UK) and the Cave Canem Poetry Prize (USA) among other awards. Running the Dusk was recently translated into Spanish and published in Cuba as Correr el Crepúsculo (Ediciones Santiago). His poetry and essays have been published, featured or reviewed in The New York Times, The Guardian, Small Axe, Callaloo, The Financial Times and elsewhere. His recent work includes a manuscript on poetry and diaspora and a series of catalogue essays on the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, which won the Art Writing Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.