Dial-a-Poem, Giorno's New York City-wide poetry installation instigated in 1968, used the technology of the telephone, a plastic handheld thing, to relay poetry as if it were simple information. The messages were poems recorded by poets and artists, from John Ashbery to Bobby Seale. For a period of about four years, anyone could dial in on a rotary telephone and hear a poem.
At the end of the 1960s almost anything could suddenly be labeled "art"--a pile of tires, a conversation, the sound of rain outside a window. Turning away from the heroics associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement--the grand gesture--artists and writers suddenly understood the actions of an ordinary life as a type of poetry. In addition to art's expansion, the poem on the page expanded, the definitions of "media" expanded, the frame of the picture expanded. Art and life, for a short time, became concomitant.
Tonight we celebrate the Dial A Poem project, John Giornos installation at the MOMA where the best of modern poets and musicians made themselves available to carry the message. Included were names like Jim Carroll, Wm.S.Burroughs, Patti Smith, Ginsberg, Diane DiPrima,Laurie Anderson, Anne Waldman, Frank O'Hara, Miguel Pinero,Ted Berigan and approximately 200 others.
We will be listening tonight to tracks from many of these as provided by many sources like Outlaw Poetry Network, and UBUWEB.
Lines will be open for discussion and commentary, and chat will be available.
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