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”—

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.

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, 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



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white


                                          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Note: Translations donated are for the purposes of a community event, and will not be published in print or on the Internet.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.


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

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.


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:

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

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