Monday, April 14, 2014

SOHA hosts Poetry Scores art invitational Friday, April 25

Robin Street-Morris, "Lampless Bastions"
(after Josephine Miles)

SOHA Studio + Gallery will host a one-night-only Poetry Scores art invitational 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 25 at the gallery, 4915 Macklind Ave.
SOHA asked ten women artists to respond to the poem “Ten Dreamers in a Motel” by Josephine Miles. The participating artists are:

In a classic Poetry Scores art invitational, visual artists are asked to respond to the same poem and title the work after a quote from the poem, then arrange the works according to where in the flow of the poem the language used for the title appears. For this invitational, each of the ten artists was assigned one of the poem's ten numbered parts.

Professionally mounted, original works of art will be exhibited and for sale in a variety of sizes and formats. Proceeds from sales will be split evenly between the artist, SOHA, and Poetry Scores, a St. Louis-based international arts organization that translates poetry into other media.

For more information on the art invitational, visit or call Julie Malone (314-497-5202) or Kat Dunne (314-780-5151). Look around here at for more information on Poetry Scores.

Image: Robin Street-Morris' contribution to the show "Lampless Bastions," after Josephine Miles,
2014. Watercolor and pastel on 300lb incised hot press paper. 12" x 20" (30 x 51cm).

“Ten Dreamers in a Motel" is from Josephine Miles' 1955 collection Prefabrications. As its title brilliantly suggests, Prefabrications is about changes in the built environment of America, circa mid-20th century, and how that affected the mental and emotional constructions people place upon the world and the people in it.

"Ten Dreamers" may be the first poem ever where the motor hotel -- the motel -- is the defining organizing principle. The poem peeks briefly into ten separate sets of lives, brought together momentarily by nothing more than the accident of a shared stopping space along the road. We're introduced to these ten sets of lives through brilliant flashes of poetic language, like headlights through motel curtains, with the abrupt symbolism and concentrated emotional power of dreams. Download the poem.

Josephine Miles (1911-1985) was a major American poet from California who has never quite been recognized as such. She was the first tenured woman professor in the English department at the University of California - Berkeley, but her poetry suffered in the male-dominated literary establishment of her time. Her work, best represented in Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press), is ripe for rediscovery.

Poetry Scores also has commissioned ten musical scores to the ten numbered parts of "Ten Dreamers in a Motel." That live score will be presented 9 p.m. Friday May, 23 at The Tap Room, 2121 Locust, followed by Ann Hirschfeld and Mark Buckheit (10 p.m.) and Dugout Canoe (11 p.m.). It's a free show.

The ten composers are Nick Barbieri, Mark Buckheit, Mike Burgett, Heidi Dean, Robert Goetz, Ann Hirschfeld, Chris King & David Melson, Michael Martin, Tracy Swigert, Joe Thebeau. These songs will be performed Nick Barbieri, Mark Buckheit, Heidi Dean, Adam Long and Tracy Swigert, with ten women reading the ten parts of the poem before each of the ten songs.

Josephine Miles

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