Poetry is for life. And at Tweetspeak, we’re committed to helping that happen more and more, in a framework that includes 5 vital arenas, each of which we’re interested in highlighting and cultivating over time. Today’s profile takes us to North Beach San Francisco’s Language of the Birds. It’s a great example of the “paint it in the public square” effort listed among the full five.
I’ve never considered polycarbonate and stainless steel, together with the fine aggregate of a sidewalk’s surface, to create an ideal combination for flight.
However, as the wall plaque explaining the site-specific sculpture Language of the Birds (created by artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn) at the corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenues in San Francisco suggests, that really just depends on how you want to fly.
Historically, ‘the language of the birds’ is considered a divine language birds use to communicate with the initiated. Here a flock of books takes off from the plaza to fly the urban gullies of the city. The fluttering pages have left a gentle imprint of the words beneath them. These serendipitously configured bits of local literature reveal layers of human culture, nature and consciousness.
The sculpture features illuminated books in flight overhead, with words embedded in the sidewalk below. This sampling of words in English, Chinese and Italian taken from works of over 90 authors with connection to the North Beach and Chinatown neighborhoods creates a very literal example of poetry in the public square.
Take a stroll past the words, try them in different combinations, and create a poem as you go. There’s life just waiting to take flight.
Featured photo by Sonny Abesamis, Creative Commons via Flickr. Post and sidewalk photos by LW Lindquist.
Learn more about the 5 Vital Approaches to Poetry for Life
- Summer Break & Take Your Poet to Work Day - July 17, 2021
- Adjustments: A Belated Bicentenary Party for John Keats - March 4, 2021
- The Reindeer Chronicles Book Club: You’re Cutting a Tree in Almería and Getting a Storm in Dusseldorf - February 17, 2021