During the Poetry Parnassus festival at London's Southbank Centre a year ago, the Chilean art collective Casagrande dropped 100,000 poems printed on bookmarks out of a helicopter over Jubilee Gardens. The installation included several copies of my poem 'The Impressionists', printed both in English and in a Spanish translation by Marcelo Pellegrini.
Now Casagrande, in collaboration with a selection of Chilean cultural institutions and the Southbank Centre, have produced a book of the Rain of Poems which features the poems dropped over London.
Casagrande's slogan is "we don't sell, we don't buy," and their aim is to make of every one of their projects a gift to the community. The book, then, is a non-profit project, and will not be available for sale. It's to be given for free to the poets, publishers, organisations and cultural institutions involved; apart from commemorating the Rain of Poems in London, it will be used to explain Casagrande's poetry bombing/rain of poems concept for future collaborations.
There will, however, be a launch of the book as part of the London Literature Festival, next Wednesday 5 June 2013 at the foyer of the Southbank Centre (6.30pm start) with readings by some of the poets involved in the project.
About the project:
Bombing of Poems (renamed Rain of Poems for London) is a performance which consists of dropping one hundred thousand poems printed on bookmarks from an aircraft – a helicopter or plane – over cities bombed during military confrontations in the past. The bookmarks are released at twilight and printed in two languages, written by both Chilean writers and poets native to the location of the city. It has been held in London, UK (2012); Berlin, Germany (2010); Warsaw, Poland (2009); Guernica, Spain (2004); Dubrovnik, Croatia (2002); and Santiago, Chile (2001).
Each time the cargo of poems was released, every single bookmark was picked up by the crowd.
This performance creates an alternative image of the past and is a gesture of remembrance as well as being a metaphor for the survival of cities and people.