Poet Evie Shockley
Found Poem: Urban Nature

Lady Liberty


It's fascinating to see where poetry pops up in public spaces. Here Nathalie Handal's poem "Lady Liberty" watches over Zang Toi's hand-beaded New York City skyline cape and Enrique Torres's graffiti jacket; all constitute a display in the super-fun exhibition "This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture," at the Museum of the City of New York.

If the print is too small to see in the photo, you can also read the poem at the Poetry Society of America.

Handal, a French-American poet with Palestinian roots, also translates, edits, and writes plays. And teaches! She's the author of  "The City and the Writer" column for Words Without Borders. You can read more about this multi-talented woman at the Poetry Foundation and at her own website.

The Poetry Friday roundup for February 23rd is at Tabatha Yeatts's blog, The Opposite of Indifference.

Photo by ST (2024).


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Gorgeous poem and cape, would love to see the exhibit it sounds wonderful, thanks for sharing all Susan!

Susan, Thanks for sharing this poet, poem, and the art. Can’t help conjuring the contrast —and enjoying this alternative vision of freedom.

Beautiful and enlightening, Susan. Thanks for sharing this vision!

Michelle, I hope to go back to this show. The movie-clip installation is fab, and I didn't get to see the whole thing.

Patricia, I like the lines "and sidewalks of moons," although I don't know exactly what she means. I pictured moonlight. What do y'all think?

Linda, you are welcome! I'd say that Handal is almost merging the "Lady Liberty" and NYC into one entity in her poem. Or is she? For it being a relatively short poem, it's full of intrigue!

Thanks for reminding me about the Museum of the City of New York. The last time I was there I saw an excellent exhibit on New York during World War 11. It's a great little museum. And also thank you for introducing me to Words without borders. I'll definitely explore Natalie Handal's work.

Janice, thanks so much for reading. The anniversary exhibit about New York in popular culture is so much fun. I'm looking forward to reading more in Words Without Borders too.

Zang Toi's cape is remarkable! Thanks for sharing this display with us, Susan. I especially like "river of invisible trumpets and sidewalks of moons," although I'm not sure what she means either.

Thanks for sharing these artistic homages to New York City! I didn't know about this museum - hoping I can squeeze in a visit to it next time I'm in NYC.

Ooh, the blues drunk on the light. Wow-what a pairing of art forms here. Thanks!

Looks like another museum I need to put on our list!

Tabatha, yes, that cape is great! Very dramatic. I'm thinking "river of invisible trumpets" relates to jazz since the blues is mentioned, too. The poem could also refer to Billie Holliday, known as the Angel of Harlem ("angel unfolding midnight") and Lady Day ("Lady Liberty"). Lots to think about here!

Elisabeth, two thumbs up from me for this museum! It's also really close to several others, including the Jewish Museum, which I popped into, also.

Laura, thanks for reading! This whole exhibit has such smart curation.

Mary Lee, for sure! I need to go back.

Susan, yes, for "sidewalks of moons" I pictured moonlit city streets.

And I loved:

she's the blues,
drunk on the light

So many fabulous images packed into a compact space!

Like you, I did a double take of sorts, thinking, "Wait, the cape is celebrating the city itself and the poem is highlighting the Statue of Liberty ... or is it?" The imagery has the two merging into one entity, inseparable, as they are in my mind.

Karen, you're so right about the images rendered so concisely and effectively. I wish I could write like that!

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