IOWA MURAL SPEAKS! EVENT

CornellReallyBest

On April 20th at Cornell College students and faculty gathered to translate the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” (William Carlos Williams) into some of the many languages spoken in the urban Midwest, including German, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. This effort is another in support of my on-going Mural Speaks! project born at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2014.

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CORNELL COLLEGE CONVOCATION REMARKS, OCTOBER 22, 2016

On receiving the school’s Leadership and Service Award from the Alumni Association, I made these brief comments:

Whenever I sit down to work on an essay or a short story, whenever I lift this growing binder of translations of ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’—my next choices are informed by the rigorous training I received here at Cornell College.

It was not simply instruction in the data-received sense. As importantly—or more importantly—I had the inspiring experience of spending four years in the company of a startling array of fierce intellectuals and robust individualists, from [teachers] Robert Dana, Liz Isaacs, Geneva Meers, Stephen Lacey, Rich Martin and Diana Crowder to [Dean] Bill Heywood, [coach] Barron Bremner, photographer Bob Campagna and groundskeeper Ernie Sommerville, a scathing critic of my work study leaf raking technique.

I emerged, somewhat miraculously, in one piece. And better, with the heart to fight again and again the dizzying and often lonely battles inherent in the crafting of individual expressions and then bearing them forward in a world that tragically too often encourages, and rewards, conformity that furnishes us with a shallow stability at the price of our deep and sacred imaginations.

Regardless of current institutional fashion, because I attended this extraordinary school I not only believe, I know there are invincible arguments to be made for the study of the humanities—for the pursuit of art and knowledge for the sake of art and knowledge—as this practice singularly bolsters the health of our mental, emotional and spiritual beings.

To those who handed me the light and showed me the way, I will be forever grateful. For them I quote these lines from Puck’s last speech in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Now the hungry lion roars,

And the wolf behowls the moon…

I am sent with broom before

to sweep the dust behind the door.

Ben Miller ’86 accepts Leadership and Service Award

 

RADCLIFFE ALBUM: MURAL SPEAKS! IN HARVARD YARD

On April 14th my stellar Research Partner Harvard Senior Ashford King and I spent an ebullient day on the Science Center Plaza promoting awareness of the diversity of the urban Midwest by offering the international Harvard populace the chance to step up to the “Translation Station” and convert the classic American poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” into some of the 140 languages spoken in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  The morning began with me pushing a wheelbarrow borrowed from Cambridge Landscaping from Byerly Hall to the event site. Ashford is pictured here playing the guitar during a musical interlude. I am tapping the perfectly tuned buoy.

On April 14th my stellar research partner Harvard senior Ashford King and I spent an ebullient day on the Science Center Plaza promoting awareness of the diversity of the urban Midwest by offering the international Harvard populace the chance to step up to the “Translation Station” and convert the classic American poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” into the 140 languages spoken in Sioux Falls, SD.
The morning began with me pushing a wheelbarrow borrowed from Cambridge Landscaping to the event site.
Ashford is pictured here playing the guitar during a musical interlude. I am tapping the perfectly tuned buoy.

GOOD LUCK, 2015-16 RADCLIFFE INSTITUTE FELLOWS!

Exactly a year ago, the adventure of a Radcliffe Fellowship began when we arrived at 83 Brattle Street in a U-Haul van packed full of books, papers, records, the salt cellar and some favorite cast iron pans. I’ll never forget that four hour drive from 149th Street in New York to Cambridge. What would happen next? In days to follow I will be posting a series of photographs of some favorite moments from those nine months, avoiding the annoying issue of snow. There was snow, yes.

For now, here’s a link to a page detailing the arc of activity that carried me from September to May, and another rattling U-Haul rental:

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/people/ben-miller

UPCOMING HARVARD APPEARANCES INVOLVING WHEELBARROWS AND LILACS

On April 14th MURAL SPEAKS! rolls into Harvard Square:

https://www.facebook.com/muralspeaksharvard

On May 3rd I will be shaking the branches at Arnold Arboretum:

Follow that Fragrance! Chasing Lilac History

Ben Miller, Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Team Lilac

Location: Hunnewell Building

White lilacs and Rachmaninov are connected how? What villainous role did lilac blooms play on the old “Batman” TV show? Can you name the Walt Whitman lilac poem not addressing President Lincoln’s assassination? This year at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, fellow Ben Miller and four Harvard College research partners (Theodore Delwiche ‘17, Sarah Blatt-Herold ‘18, Christine Legros ‘17, Ian Van Wye ‘17) have been harvesting material for a book-length lyric essay about the lilac aura, and ways it has filtered through their own lives and cultures around the globe. In this lively program, “Team Lilac” will present an array of poems, songs, monologues and visual art celebrating the lavish, mysterious, and ever-enduring charisma of Syringa vulgaris.

HARVARD PROJECT NEWS: MURAL SPEAKS! FORGES FORWARD

I continue to work hard on the Mural Speaks! project in Cambridge.

Here is a link to a recent article in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader detailing progress:

http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2014/12/15/poetry-project-planned-meldrum-park-making-progress/20416855/

Follow the link below to hear a short radio interview about the project which recently aired on “Sunny FM” (92.1) in South Dakota.

https://soundcloud.com/sunnyradio/muralspeaks-benmiller-lookingforpoems

Exciting Mural Speaks! events are planned for 2015. Stay tuned.