Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Featured Poet: Alan Summer

I have a bonafide, international, haiku poet for ya'll! He's a Japan Times Award-winning poet and published writer! Alan Summers visited Provocative Haiku during my, ahem, disagreement with The Haiku Foundation. He visited all the way from England! And I was so delighted to see his website and hear about an artistic project he was chosen for: The Fourth Plinth.

A few words about Alan, he loves books and poetry, and Manga! He runs a blog Area 17, and is also available for workshops through Worth Words, which you should definitely check out for poetry and announcements for contests with cash prizes.

Anyone familiar with Trafalgar Square? I haven't been there since 1996, but apparently there is a vacant plinth - an empty pedestal for a statue. So, Antony Gormley decided to use it by asking people to be living statues! This is a very interesting art performance concept which quickly garnered so many applicants, the winners were chosen by lottery! Ah, you crazy Brits! I think that's a wonderful testament to how much they cherish the arts over there. For more info on the project, view a short video - click here.

So, Alan Summers, international haiku poet, has an idea. He will collect Important Words and read them during his time on the Fourth Plinth.

My sincere apologies to Alan - I wanted to post this on July 24th so that you could hopefully watch him live on the Fourth Plinth, July 27th. Not sure if he streamed live, but as I recover from a severe migraine attack, I have been watching his video:

You'll see in the video that Alan begins to read the Important Words he's collected along with the stories behind them. A very personal look into the private lives of today's human beings emerges: cancer, forgiveness, happiness, war, serendipity, hope. People from all over the world aren't so different from us. For the most part, we all fear and cherish the same things. A feeling of cohesiveness, connectedness between us all, results as you listen to Alan. I was very touched and tickled to be able to hear about what other people feel is important. It kind of took out the anger I need to write this blog! (I do have a soft side, but don't tell anyone!)

I think the best part of Alan's video is when he invites the crowd to turn to a stranger and tell them their Important Word. That is the ultimate in performance art participation! And I also think it's an interesting social experiment since so few people in America will talk to a stranger unless they have to. As he reads his words and the letters that accompanied them, they become very personal glimpses into the private lives of people all around the world.

There's still time to add your own important word. Under the video, you can post it in the comments section. I hope you will!


Alan Summers stands
on the Fourth Plinth. His reading
reveals private lives.

Our important words
inspire him and reveal
our private ideals.

Our important words
show our thoughts are connected.
Strangers become friends.



Alan Summers said...

Thanks Alison!

I'm interviewed by the BBC about my Fourth Plinth spot: Alan's BBC interview

I also love comments so please do post your important words and comments straight onto the Plinth Page just like Alison did! ;-)

My Plinth webpage: Alan's Plinth Page

Alan Summers

Alan Summers said...

The British Library has now archived the Fourth Plinth project so it continues to be accessible to everyone around the world.

Here's my archived slot on the Plinth! ;-)

Alan on Antony Gormley’s Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth Project: Fourth Plinth weblink

all my very best

2010 With Words Haiku Competition: weblink

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