In the summer of 2013, while at one of my favourite bookstores in Madrid, a conversation started with Pepe, the owner of Arrebato Libros. Pepe told me about the project Poetas por Kilometro2, a travelling poetry festival that he organises that is celebrated annually around the world. Pepe mentioned to me that he was looking to bring the poetic festival to New York—starting our discussions to bring part of the festival to Fordham University. This past week, after a year of trials and tribulations, the festival had it’s start at Fordham University’s Lincoln Centre campus. The five day festival had it’s first two days at Fordham, followed by a day at New York’s Instituto Cervantes and Bowery Poetry Club.
Thursday, 14 May, brought Carolina Espinoza Cartes, from publishing house Meninas Cartoneras, to the 3rd floor lounge of the Lowenstein building to hand-make books of poetry out of recycled and donated materials. My fellow history nerd and friend David’s mother, Helen, sent scrap pieces of fabric from North Carolina for us to use. I collected used New Yorker magazines, Fordham’s Custodial services provided used cardboard, and friends (both old and new) came together to create and bind books of poetry (including work from the poets involved in the festival). Using scissors, box-cutters, glue, string, fabric and imagination we learned how to make bind books. Carolina was exceedingly patient with us, as we pulled together our poetry books.
Friday night, brought together 70-80 people for poetic performances in Spanish, Catalan and English, featuring Guillermo Fésser, Claire Donato, María Salgado, and Josep Pedrals. Having cleared out the space, students, faculty member, staff, and guests from all over the world laughed, cried, and saw a variety of poetry performed. Bridging language barriers, the night was a perfect end to a semester. Thanks for everyone for coming out both days. This was a success because of you!