“If history is an ongoing shared rootedness to a place, then poetry is made of voices and materials that hash out that place; that testify to the inextricability of our fates.”
Ryan Eckes’ (b.1979) narrative-driven poetry is, in his words, “a possible form of history:” a way to document the voices and conditions of urban life. He characterizes his writing as “deeply investigative” and “documentary-like.” Eckes’ book Old News (Furniture Press, 2011) weaves newspaper articles from the 1920s with his neighbors’ personal accounts of life in South Philadelphia in a series of poems that run between lyric and narrative. In his latest book, Valu-Plus (Furniture Press, 2014), Eckes continues his examination of Philadelphia, as he imaginatively makes use of corporate language, workplace correspondence, and other non-poetic texts, “in search of free expression and experience,” he says. Eckes is currently at work on a book about the influence of public and private transit on the conditions of city life. He has served as adjunct professor at numerous regional colleges over the past decade, and in recent years as a labor organizer in education. Eckes holds an MA in creative writing and English from Temple University.
The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy manages the largest and oldest public art program in the country, while The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia seeks to improve quality of life for all Philadelphians by facilitating collaborations between the city’s public, private, and non-profit sectors.
As part of her Carnegie International project, Zoe Strauss is taking portraits of the residents of Homestead, PA. Plus, news on Brian Phillips, Frank Sherlock, Kinan Abou-Afach, Matthew Cox, Jay Kirk, and more.
Whit MacLaughlin is a theater artist, the founder of New Paradise Laboratories, and a 2002 Pew Fellow.
Murphy makes up one half of the artist duo Megawords, along with Anthony Smyrski. Megawords is well known throughout Philadelphia for installations that are equal parts gathering space, artist studio, and storefront.
Max Apple (Pew Fellow, 2010) has been described as a “writer’s writer,” a dedicated author of short fiction who writes with precision and control.
Pew Fellow Geoff Sobelle’s award-winning production of The Object Lesson travels to Ohio’s Wexner Center for the Arts.
This month’s digest includes a BOMB Magazine interview with Chris Forsyth, international attention for Ryan Trecartin’s collaborative video installation at London’s Zabludowicz Collection, and a list of “must-see painting shows” from New American Paintings stocked with Pew Fellows.
Honor Molloy is a playwright and novelist, and a 1993 Pew Fellow.
Playwright and 2008 Pew Fellow J. Rufus Caleb strives to create theater experiences that are “as visceral as they are intellectual.”
When asked about his sense of ethical responsibility in creating work, Whit MacLaughlin of New Paradise Laboratories responded with a reflection on his place in the performance world.
This historical interpretation project compares domestic life in two centuries through the exploration of the 1767 and 1959 kitchens inside Cliveden’s historic Germantown mansion, revealing how architecture, design, and the technology of the times defined the experiences of those enslaved and in service and their relationships with the household’s family.
Visual artist and Pew Fellow Eileen Neff recalls the early works of art that influenced her practice, her most treasured possession, and more.