LAPS at the 1st Virtual Poets & Writers Connecting Cultures Celebration
by Madison Parsley
The Los Angeles Poet Society took part in the Poet & Writers Virtual Connecting Cultures event that brought together literary organizations and readers from New York and California for the first time. LAPS was the recipient of a PW Grant which was used to create the Ekphrastic Poetry workshops that connected art history and creative writing.
Founder and Executive Director of LAPS, Jessica M. Wilson, is a Poet who studied both creative writing and art history at the University of California, Riverside. With the PW grant she was able to combine her two passions to create an ekphrastic poetry workshop.
“This gave me the opportunity to share my love for art and share my knowledge of art history with my fellow writers,” said Wilson.
Writers, Felicia Taylor E and Sandy Cornejo, presented their poetry from the workshop based on the art from an exhibition called Above and Below the Sea from the local art gallery La Galeria Gitana in the San Fernando Valley. Taylor E and Cornejo recited their work that narrated and reflected upon the ocean imagery of the artwork they observed.
Though the folks have remained distant due to the global pandemic, virtual events like the LAPS workshops and PW event have been able to give writers a sense of community during these hard times.
“I feel that LA Poet Society was a grounding during this time,” said Taylor E. “ I want to thank Poets & Writers too, because I feel like without the infusion, assistance, and support for the community, then the community cannot be able to share their voices and be able to benefit the way that we have.”
Poets & Writers serves as the largest non-profit for creative writers in the nation with programs that include their Readings & Workshops program that helps to support writers and organizations to participate in literary events. Over the past 10 years the Connecting Cultures events have been hosted separately in New York and California. This year was different due to the circumstances, but the literary community from the east and west coast were finally able to share a space where they can present their work which was the silver lining, said Jamie Asaye FitzGerald, Poet & Writers Director, California Office and Readings & Workshops West.
“I have loved this event from the very beginning because while each reader has just a short time to present their work, we as the an audience get to witness and hear voices that come out of the spectrum of human experience and expression so wide, multifaceted and varied it can’t help but inspire and expand us,” said FitzGerald.
If you missed Poets & Writers Virtual Connecting Cultures Reading, you can watch the event on their Facebook page.