Saturday, July 13, 2013

Realizing it is Us...

It's a quiet Saturday where I sit this morning. Everyone else in the household is off doing something but I've been reflecting about an article I read this week in Poets & Writers.  Actually I've been sort of triangulating between art, community and literary journals.

Most who read this blog will have no problem grasping the significance of art an/or literary magazines in daily life, but I do have friends who don't get it. Why should they, for most have no interest in poetry and any reading they do is for pleasure (nothing wrong with that) but I'm thinking for the most part what they are reading is pretty superfluous.

What has sparked my thoughts this morning is an arts magazine call The NewtownerFounded in early 2010 this journal of literary, visual and preforming arts is produced by a volunteer staff in a small Western Connecticut community  that became a house world this past December with the tragic shooting of twenty children and six staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Newtowner is a quarterly magazine. Following the that tragic December, Georgia Monagham, magazine founder reports that she felt like she didn't care if The Newtowner ever went to press again. But that changed as she considered the magazine had an opportunity to do something for the community. The Newtowner could actually play a role in helping to define the community rather then allowing it to be defined by the events on December 14, 2012.

What has happened since that time is to move ahead with a tribute issue to Newtown. Also a goal to put a free copy in the hands of everyone in Newtown, Connecticut.

Monagham's idea is a significantly positive message reflecting art. If a community can be defined by it's art, doesn't that make it's art all the more relevant? I think it does and I love the idea that out of this tragedy such a vision is possible, but must we have tragedy in order for us to define ourselves by art? Must it take such darkness in our lives to realize we are the art? I think more communities should explore their art. Newtown could be a ripple that undulates through communities around this country that allow themselves to find their talents and allow others locally to see those talents first hand.

Others who have lent a hand to this special issues include:
  • Nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators  Wally Lamb, Lois Lowry, Katherine Paterson,and Steven Kellogg
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa
  •   Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka

I'm always hearing people say, "poetry is just not relevant to me" and perhaps when we see that  we are all poets, painters, photographers, singers, dancers, story tellers we will meet art and realize it is us.

Note: you can help with funding the project to put a copy of The Newtowner in every home in Newtown by making a contribution here.     Or pre-order get your own copy.
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