Tag Archives: poetry

Sussan Deyhim: THE HOUSE IS BLACK–Royce Hall Jan. 23, 2015

(Unsigned editorial from the performance program notes).

It has been a profound privilege and honor to collaborate with and support Sussan Deyhim since the very early stages of this incredible work. Sussan was in residence at CAP UCLA with The House is Black last year and tonight’s world premiere is a culmination of energy, creative spirit and integrity of purpose.

The making of a work like this has been in the hands of many believers–the people and organizations and fellow artists who believe in the importance of the story Sussan is so committed to sharing with us all, who believe in shining a light on the infl uence of a great writer and artist who came before and whose voice has been all-too-silent in the contemporary arts world.

For three years now, we at the Center have been asking the question “Who is the Poet in Your Life?” The answers are as varied as the people who supply them, and our work and lives have been enriched through this exploration. Thanks to Sussan, Forough Farrokhzad herself has become an answer to that question for us. We welcome you here tonight to celebrate her contributions to the world of art, and to celebrate the tenacity, intention and great talent of Sussan Deyhim, who will continue to bring the work of Forough to so many. We hope you leave here with a poem from our live Poetry Bureau in the West Lobby where we will attempt to capture the great power of language through a few thoughtfully typed verses.

And we hope you leave here tonight able to more deftly ponder and answer the question: Who is the Poet in Your Life?

Tonight we all become part of a living, breathing, ongoing exhibition. Our memories and experiences here tonight are what creates a permanent collection of this ephemeral art form. We become the keepers of this moment in time and this tribute to two powerful boundary-defying artists.

Poetic Thought for a New Season

We’ve been obsessed with poetry around here lately, on a mission to incorporate it into our lives more fully. As part of this ongoing exploration, last year we met Mary Ruefle, a master of erasure poetry who taught us this simple but profound practice of taking written words, marking some of them out and unveiling something wholly new.

There is a lot of poetry to be found in the upcoming season. Explore the 2014-2015 calendar up today on our website. And there will be much more to come from us in the next few months– a new website, and the official season brochure hits mailboxes in the next couple of days, keep an eye out.

We took a pause from the frenzy to sit down with some of that information and in the name of poetry, erase it.  If you’ve ever encountered our artistic and executive director Kristy Edmunds, you know how eloquent and inspiring her words can be. Figuring they would make for prime poetic fodder, several staffers here took Kristy’s welcome letter from our season program guide, and turned it into an erasure project.

Here’s what we covered and uncovered.

We ‘re looking forward to everything we may unearth in the coming season.



Welcome to the 2014-2015 Season

By Jessica Wolf

 An impressive appetite

We love

We thrive

You celebrate and discover



Art Forms


Turn sound to light

Epic and mind-expanding


L.A. itself

A unique world

Synthesizes poetry


And deliriously strange


Through masterful hands

Every endeavor

In passion

And an unknown outcome


We help the work

Stand as connectors

Diverse, voracious, curious participants


Thank you



A virtuous circle

Complex and ebullient


Art direct for UCLA



By Meryl Friedman


A City…


Standing at the apex

Of delirious endeavor





In the complex collaboration!



By Theresa Willis Peters


There is clear evidence…

of routes to one another


We thrive, celebrate, discover

We continue

Emerging the vision

Over decades


Fans that make the world turn


Unseen time

Marks our work

Places and sensations


Multifaceted and perfectly scaled

Standing, rediscovered

Deliriously strange


Each endeavor

A question

Pursuing an unknown present

Connectors between

A curious common cause


Our potential.



By Phinn Sriplyorung


In a city


Center for exploration




Come together


Cultural omnivores

Exposed sound

A spotlight celebrates

A resounding, special, mind-expanding




We are collaborating with L.A.

Our L.A.

An homage to fame

Standing at the apex of the avant-garde

The absurd

And strange

The life of our celebrated modern stage


A unique endeavor

In which artists come together in mutual passion

Cause and relevance


Entrust us

To be actively present

Us who work as connectors





Enhance the art-filled potential

Of our labor

Notes from Kristy: Weathering Storms and the Art of Performance

One of the artists I have been most eager to introduce to you, the Los Angeles community, is Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin and her astonishing company of dancers.

And now, after much travail thanks to the U.S. visa process and subsequent travel delays, which have required us to rearrange our presentation of her work, Lucy Guerin and all of her company are here. To perform their work for the first time in Los Angeles. We are so proud to welcome them.

Lucy has always been keenly concentrated, artistically and through her choreography, with human relationships and how we encounter and affect each other. Her newest work, “Weather,” is an analysis of the conflicts within, and desires for intimacy – which widen into a meditation on human beings as a species and our relational patterns. Particularly explored in “Weather,” are the naturally occurring forces that exist outside of the realms of human control, and our direct impact upon the elemental properties that govern the natural world order.

In the advance planning to bring this remarkable work of choreography to open our 2013-2014 season of contemporary dance, there are two particular weather events occurring now that we could not have anticipated, then. But both, in their own distinctive way offer insight into elemental and poetic forces that are explored in the conceptual and choreographic structure of this work.

The first event, is the U.S. Government ‘shut down.’ Not to dwell, but it is an undeniable display of relational impact and the kind of political weather operating at present in the U.S. One that offers remarkable difficulty in providing elegant explanation around, as we welcome our Australian friends to Los Angeles for the first time. But so too in how we approach an explanation within ourselves, as we grapple with what this current political weather means within our collective citizenry.

Perhaps this work from Australia, in crossing the Pacific to premiere in the U.S., has arrived in exactly the right moment. However robust our current head winds might be.

The second, as was reported for all Angelenos this week, is the annual onset of the Santa Ana winds themselves, a local phenomenon – due to blow in and work upon our nerve endings, on the very evening of this performance.

Guerin’s work often draws from the physical world – elemental properties and naturally occurring events – to draw parallels for exploring the ethos of human relationships, as expressively framed through the art of dance and choreography. Read more about Lucy’s approach to the creation of “Weather,” in her director’s note for the program.

We have also harnessed our local community at UCLA to explore the themes of this performance through the lens of their scientific research. I hope you are able to arrive early on Friday night and enjoy our special pre-show event The Poetry of Nature: a discussion with graduate researchers from the UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies.

We may not be able to predict the political winds–nor the weather, nor visa delays nor the traffic patterns during the gusts from the Santa Anas – but we can predict with certainty that the arts in all of their expressive potential, mastery and refined exploration, can and do bring us into direct proximity with the possibility of being astonished and enlivened by the human imagination.

Follow Kristy Edmunds on Instagram @kedmunds

Just Chillin’ With Carl Hancock Rux

Carl Hancock Rux rolls into town this week as he gears up for his Saturday night spoken word event here at CAP UCLA.

He brings with him a natural coolness, a vibe, an aesthetic heartbeat that is utterly engaging. Get a dose of what’s in store via this trailer.

Teaser: Carl Hancock Rux / The Exalted from FEATUREZOO on Vimeo.

We count ourselves extremely lucky that Carl is able to join us early and participate in some student engagement activities this week, including a classroom session Wednesday afternoon. And he will generously host “Free Form,” a very special open mic night for students on <Thursday night, an event organized by our awesome student arm, Student Committee for the Arts.

Carl has definitely become one of the poets in our lives this season as we have prepared to present him at UCLA for the first time.

We asked him the question we’ve been asking our audiences all year long: “Who is the Poet in Your Life?”

“There are thousands of poets in my life,” he said. “But three that I can think I cannot live without (and whose work I find myself constantly returning to) are Li Young Lee, Breyten Breytenbach, and Derek Walcott–particularly because of their ability to illustrate the conceptual and pictorial realms of poetry as biography, as memoir, as theater, as historical narrative…and political essay.”

Because Carl is infinitely cooler than me (a fact I admit have long suspected), I had to do a bit of research on these artists.

But hey, I’m open to bringing a few more poets into my life, so a bit of exploring served me well, perhaps you will feel the same way? I’ll get you started.

Li Young Lee—A child of Chinese political exiles, his collections of poetry traverse stories of his family’s life, gentle and profound tales of humanity and humility…and so much more.

Breyten Breytenbach—Also a visual artist, he is known as South Africa’s most important poet of the 1960s. A staunch anti-apartheid activist, he spent seven years in jail for treason and wrote “True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist” about it.

Derek Walcott—Nobel Prize winner and playwright, known for his epic Homeric poem “Omeros” set in the Carribbean. You can read an excerpt of it at The Poetry Foundation website.

I feel cooler already.

There are a very few seats left for Carl’s performance in the intimate Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater just down the way from Royce in Kaufman Hall.

Come join us, we can be cool together.

P.S. I find it incredibly heartening to know that in the dog-eat-dog modern media climate that a Magazine and foundation dedicated to all things poetry continues to survive. Viva La Poetry Foundation!

Desperately Seeking Poetry

We’re kind of obsessed with poetry around here these days. One of the first things our new artistic director Kristy Edmunds started talking about when she arrived was this concept of poetry in our lives…the need for it, the existence of it, the search for it.

We’re interested in nuance. Intrinsic evocative details of life are unearthed through art and through language, but nuance tends to disappear, or become overwhelmed in our modern technological world. We shorten language, we avoid language, we allow language to keep us apart, when we can and should be using it to come together.

The thought evolved into a fairly simple initial question — Who is the Poet in Your life?

Of course, that question (purposely) inspires a host of others. IS there a poet in your life? If not, why not? Do you want one? How do you get one? What is poetry anyway? Where can we find it?

That last question has been floating to the forefront for me of late. I feel like I’ve been finding poetry everywhere, in places big and small, from an amazing Instagram shot a friend took, to a tiny and innocently profound inscription my 10-year-old niece wrote in a scrapbook we are making for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law. (“Your imagination counts. Every single thought counts.”)

I’ve even found some on the streets of Los Angeles. Yes, literally. There is a spot downtown near 7th and Fig. called “Poet’s Walk.” I didn’t know it existed until this summer. It’s a confluence of public art and original poetry, most of it created and installed more than 20 years ago.

I got wrapped up in one piece in particular, called Portals to Poetry. It’s a series of interconnected door-like structures made of steel, bronze and found objects by George Herms articulated with poems written by Charles Simic and set in bas relief on the structures. I love the idea of pairing poetry with doors. Doors open, doors close, there’s a poetry in the idea of opening ourselves up to new experiences and places by walking through a door and also a bittersweet poetic sensibility when we close a door on a part of our lives that has perhaps run its course or isn’t serving us.

It’s kind of amazing the thoughts that bubble up when you start thinking about poetry in your life.

Go ahead, walk through that door with us. Start by sharing a though about a poets or poem that speaks to you on our Poet in Your Life tumblr. We’ll be asking more of you and sharing more with you on this thought as our season progresses.

Portals to Poetry