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.

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.

MURAL SPEAKS! AUGUST UPDATE: 57 TRANSLATIONS COLLECTED! MERELY 86 TO GO!

For those who missed it, here is a link to a New York Times article about the discovery of the origins of William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”—

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/books/the-secret-of-william-carlos-williamss-the-red-wheelbarrow.html?emc=edit_th_20150707&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=55429474

Over the summer–in addition to writing–I’ve been continuing to collect translations of this brief startling poem in every language spoken in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The effort is part of the preparation for a massive reading in the city, celebrating the diversity of the urban Midwest–an idea hatched during my fellowship year at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2015/04/14/translating-poem-weaving-rug-unites-sioux-falls/25783329/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86LdFfs_XxU

Translators of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate in this project designed to build community across regional boundaries and generations.

How to participate:

  1. Pick a language from the list below.
  2. Consult English version of poem.
  3. Put pen to paper or fingers to keys/screen.
  4. E-mail results to muralspeaks@gmail.com, along with a three-sentence biography, and the name of your favorite poet in the language translated. (I would like event attendees to depart with a global map of poetry in hand to discover and explore…)

The Red Wheelbarrow

 so much depends

upon

 

a red wheel


barrow

 

glazed with rain

water

 

beside the white


chickens.

                                          William Carlos Williams

 

“Red Wheelbarrow” Translations Needed (86 as of 8.4.15):

 European: Croatian, Shqip or Albanian, Ukrainian.

African: Acholi, Afar, Akan, Anyuak, Avokaya, Baki, Bari, Bassa, Bhojpuri, Burundi, Creole, Didinga, Erapice, Fulani, Grego, Jur, Kabila, Kenyarwanda, Kikiyu, Kirundi or Rundi, Kisio, Kiswahili, Krahn, Krash, Kuku, Kunama, Lakoka, Lango, Lingala, Luganda, Madi, Mai Mai or Bantu, Mandinka, Mawo, Mondari, Moru, Murule, Ndogo, Nubiar, Nuer, Nyambara, Nyangwana, Oduk, Ogoni, Oromo, Pojulu, Rafica, Ruel, Rwanda, Shilluk, Sholuk, Toknath, Toposa, Urdu, Wolof or Senegal, Zande.

 Asian: Armenian, Azeri or Azerbaijan, Bangla, Bhutanese, Cambodian, Cantonese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hayaren of Armenia, Kazakh, Khmer, Lao, Lergdie, Nepali, Oriya, Pashtu, Telugu.

 Central and South American: Kiche, Mam, Mayan.

 North American: Ojibwe or Chippawa, Dakota, Nakota, Navajo, Omaha, Ponca, Winnebago.

Note: Translations donated are for the purposes of a community event, and will not be published in print or on the Internet. The author retains all rights: use is strictly joyful and informal.

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.