Seven-foot high poems made from cracker boxes, soda cans and shampoo bottles?
That's "Bumbershoot Concrete," a series of performance art pieces created by Spokane artist Rik Nelson and local poets during the Bumbershoot arts festival at the Seattle Center over the 2001 Labor Day weekend.
"Our gig is visual poetry in action, or concrete poetry done live," Nelson explains. "The words of the poems not only have meaning connotatively, but create additional meaning graphically."
Daily during Bumbershoot, poets Jason Olsen, Lisa Roullard, Robyn Christian, Dave Metzger, Carrie Oeding, Jeremy Martin and Nance Van Winckel "interviewed" festival-goers. From the responses gathered, they created concrete poems. Nelson and assistant Jesse Hiatt then fabricated the poems from a variety of recyclable materials to create works of art on 7'x7' panels.
"A poem a day!" Nelson says. "Our first day performance
was called Four-Day Forecast; then Eros; followed by Q&A. Finally,
on Monday, we did Free (For All)."
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