Poems in Silk is an art installation that includes poetry and printmaking—a collaboration between the multidisciplinary artist Belgin Yucelen, acclaimed poet Anne Waldman, and engineer Akın Köksal. With referrals to history, mythology, politics, and spirituality, Waldman’s poetry is intricate, intimate, and delightfully surprising. Yucelen created monochromatic abstract prints inspired by Gypsy Nun, trick o’death and crepescular. She wanted the installation to be quiet so the viewers can have the space to contemplate Waldman’s wisdom.
The poem Gypsy Nun is about a young woman whose desires contradict her religious calling. Through the visual details and the symbolic references Waldman portrays, Yucelen visualized a room behind an isolating mashrabiya made of the poem itself.
Yucelen created a print inspired by the talismanic shirts ornamented with text, magic squares, and other elements common to portable talismanic objects. In these shirts the use of letter magic provided a protective function through preserving the fleeting traces of human contact. Yucelen inspired by the poem trick o’death filled up each of the magic squares with Waldman’s words on the awakening powers of death forming a deliberate contrast for a wish for longer life to create Death is Awakening.
just nothing, no breathing is inpired by the following section of trick o’death:
she’s getting out of this
into another maelstrom
or just nothing, no breathing
streets are quieter
feels less structural
lies as secrets seem truer now
The poems are used by permission of the author and the City of Lights, SF and Penguin Random House, NY.
Poems in Silk is displayed as part of the Pink Progression Collaborations at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities from July 2 – November 8, 2020.