In 1933, Black Mountain College was founded, guided by its progressive educational agenda of interdisciplinary artistic learning.
One Pause Poetry
Tonight at 7 p.m.
The college had many notable faculty members, including John Cage, Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, among others, and it was also the birthplace of the renowned poetics movement Black Mountain Poetry. While the college has since disbanded, its legacy remains. Influenced by the college’s model, the nonprofit organization Copper Colored Mountain Arts seeks to bring similar educational opportunities to the Southeast Michigan area.
“Black Mountain was trying to have innovation in education and create a new way of looking at learning, a holistic approach, which didn’t involve just sitting in a desk in a classroom,” said ‘U’ alum Sarah Messer, director of One Pause Poetry.
One Pause Poetry is an organization within Copper Colored Mountain Arts, and this year it will be the focus of CCMA’s artistic agenda. They will kick off their 2012 season tonight with readings by three poets.
The organization was established in response to multiple occurrences in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti areas that were decreasing the public’s access to literary events. A lack of funding for a series of readings at universities such as Eastern Michigan University and the closing down of bookstores like Shaman Drum, which have their own reading series, created a need in the community for such an organization.
“We wanted to make something happen for poets in the community,” Messer said.
Since the fall of 2010, One Pause Poetry has brought celebrated poets to the Ann Arbor area for free and public readings along with conversations and workshops. Not only do they attempt to unite poetry and the public, but also unite the many divisions within poetry itself.
“We really honor diversity and quality in our poets,” Messer said. “There’s a lot of camps of poetry, and we try to really include people from all types of camps.”
Poets Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Khaled Mattawa and Jennifer Chang will read their work at the event.
Mattawa, who teaches at the University’s MFA Creative Writing program, has published multiple volumes of poetry, which most recently include “Amorisco” and “Tocqueville.” He has received multiple awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize and three Pushcart prizes, among others.
Chang and Nezhukumatathil were recently declared “Poets Under 40 to Watch For” by former Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Both have published multiple volumes of poetry, including Chang’s “The History of Anonymity” and Nezhukumatathil’s “Lucky Fish,” which won a gold medal in poetry from the Independent Publish Book Awards and the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize for Independent Books.
Tonight’s reading will be One Pause Poetry’s first reading at its new location: METAL, a combination art gallery and workshop featuring metal work. Previously, the group held readings in a restored barn, which led to the current precedent of One Pause Poetry’s season mainly taking place in the fall and spring.
“It’s an active metal shop where they restore cars, make metal sculpture and do all sorts of metal work and design,” Messer said. “But then they also have events like poetry readings and performances.”
Those who go may find an atmospheric mixture of poetic recital as well as see the metal monoliths that decorate the background of the event.