Together, through poetry…

There’s very little I can share at the moment that you don’t already know and are experiencing in real life, just like me. Of all the fiction books and films we saw through the years, nothing would’ve prepared us for the absurd reality that our world has been turned into.
So, while a virus roams the streets of not one city, nor one country, but countless countries around the planet, we, citizens of the world, cocooned in the safety of our homes, do our best to stay safe.

So, in an attempt to give my mind some structure and not let it be devoured by the mixed messages of my FB feed (conspiracy-panic-recipe-catpic-newsflash-selfie-angryrant-repeat), I decided to launch a project I’ve been daydreaming of for a long time, called The Poetic Phonotheque.

In a few words, it is a virtual collection of poetry in the voice of the poets themselves, reciting it in any language, from anywhere in the world. I’ll only list the author’s name, country of origin/location, and the title of the poem, and it is up to you to click and listen and let it surprise you. The initiative started on the 21st of March, 2020, World Poetry Day, and already has received poems from Serbia, Germany, Colombia, the US, Ireland, Czech Republic, Sweden and Denmark.

If you’d like to join this initiative, all you have to do is record yourself reading a poem, and send me the MP3 by filling this form.

Let me take you on a small trip down memory lane:
The idea comes from my upbringing in Colombia, when as a child I had the opportunity of visiting the Casa de Poesía Silva, a cultural house in Bogotá where poets often gathered to present their poetry, attend workshops…with a beautiful garden in its center, and a room where its fonoteca houses over 2000 hours of poetry in cassettes and CDs.

Here’s where we cue the old photo, in honor of that other thing happening on FB of everybody posting a “throwback”:

Casa de Poesía Silva, 1999, with Nadaist Poet Jotamario Arbelaez.

And so this child that I was, who dreamt of being a poet forever, would arrive and borrow a pair of headphones and ask to hear some poetry.

This room made me feel safe, and it allowed me to travel to other dimensions through the poems I heard there. And I thought it was the greatest place on earth. Surely it unconsciously also taught me tons about developing my own style when reading poetry??? It’s so exciting to learn about the authors by hearing how they interpret their work.

I’ve been postponing this idea for who knows how long, waiting for the perfect time to get started… and I guess now is exactly that moment. How fortunate that I can host it through Red Door so that this phonotheque expands to house poetry in many languages, in many styles, by many of you. In good ol’ neverstop fashion.

I’d love to replicate that feeling of joy that poetry brought me, in each of your homes, now that we’re asked to stay put and only take spacial trips.

With love, from the poet who dreams of being a child forever…

May we all fare well on this journey.
Elizabeth.

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