A Change is as good as a Line Break

Leading up to the Line Break room at PEM, installation by Colleen Michaels and Lillian Harden

Leading up to the Line Break room at PEM, installation by Colleen Michaels and Lillian Harden

You know that a public space is inviting if there are people in there every time you walk by.  When that space is a quiet area in a back corner of a museum set aside for poetic contemplation and respite, you make invisible fist pumps of joy and plan to come back later when you can abuse your staff privilege of getting in there before it opens to the public.

This is exactly what happened with Line Break, an installation at PEM for the Mass Poetry Festival.  (Read more about the background of the two artists and plans for the space here: Line Break on masspoetry.org)

When Colleen and Lillian first approached my colleague and I about a poetry installation during the festival, we were eager to try to make it happen, but neither of us suspected, I think, how successful they would be at creating the atmosphere they described: the soft hum and click of an old slide projector, the feeling of floating as you lay beneath the hammock of words, the wordless invitation of blank books and pure white pencils.

(Blank books always call to me, I always answer.)

Poetry hammock catches lines in Line Break

Poetry hammock catches words in Line Break

My favorite lines I saw float across the net/hammock were:

“if your net
were knit
by bloom
would it feel
like raised hands?”

And, based off another quote from a few lines later, I wrote this poemlet:


Almost feather, almost fin
almost heaven, almost in.
Almost always, almost lost–
What’s the danger?  What’s the cost?
Almost sorry, almost wise,
almost perfect in your eyes.

line break room view

Really, the floor cushions were the part my inner child liked best.


4 thoughts on “A Change is as good as a Line Break

  1. Aw – miss PEM now that I’m in NYC – don’t get back to MA often enough. Really enjoy your blog and I’m reviving mine this summer after a long absence and a job that was taking over my life.


  2. Next time you are northward, come by and say hello! I will look forward to new updates on the blog in the meantime.


  3. I will and same to you – I currently volunteer at AMNH and have free admissions for guests. Probably heading north in June or July with a stop in Boston before going to see friends in NH. Salem would be a great side trip on the way,


  4. Sounds like fun! I love the AMNH, though I haven’t gotten to visit in a couple of years. (Ran out of time last time I was in town for NAEA, just too much interesting stuff to see…)


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