Red Hen Press at Art Center College of Design
April 23, 2013
PASADENA, CA — On April 23, 2013, over fifty readers, art lovers, and patrons gathered on the rooftop of Art Center College of Design’s South Campus for an evening of poetry and fine art. The event—a spring fundraiser for Red Hen Press—helped raise over $3,300 for the literary press which has called Pasadena home since January 2010.
The event began with a cocktail reception where guests enjoyed wine, beer, and an array of sweet treats generously donated by Bodega Wine Bar, Craftsman Brewing Company, and Buster’s Coffee, respectively. And though a few unexpected issues arose—unexpectedly chilly weather and an unfortunately out-of-service elevator—guests maintained high spirits as they mingled with Red Hen staff and the night’s featured speakers: John Barr, president of The Poetry Foundation, Katharine Coles, the poet laureate emeritus of Utah, and Lita Albuquerque, an award-winning visual artist and graduate faculty member at Art Center.art. The event—a spring fundraiser for Red Hen Press—helped raise over $3,300 for the literary press which has called Pasadena home since January 2010.
With the sun fully set, attendees made their way to their seats where Red Hen’s Managing Editor Kate Gale welcomed the crowd and introduced the evening’s first reader, John Barr. Barr gave a stirring and humorous performance from his most collection, a two-volume mock-epic titled The Adventures of Ibn Opcit, centering on a poet-hero who escapes a Caribbean prison and travels the world in search of dignity and citizenship.
Following Barr’s reading, Dr. Gale took the podium once again to introduce Katharine Coles. Dr. Gale noted the back story of Coles’ most recent poetry collection, The Earth Is Not Flat, which was the result of her time in Antarctica under the auspices of the National Science Foundation. Praised in her introduction by Dr. Gale as a poet who “masterfully combines intellect with imagination,” Coles read poetry filled with the beautiful landscapes of and her observations from her time at the South Pole.
The final speaker of the evening, Lita Albuquerque, also found beauty and creativity in Antarctica during her own trip to the South Pole. The purpose of Albuquerque’s journey, as noted in Dr. Gale’s introduction, was the creation of “Stellar Axis” an art installation which placed blue spheres across the Ross Ice Shelf. Ms. Albuquerque explained that the placement of each sphere corresponded to the location of one of 99 stars in the Antarctic sky, creating an earthly constellation at the earth’s pole. An image of this installation was chosen by Dr. Gale as the cover artwork for Coles’ The Earth Is Not Flat, which includes “Music of the Spheres,” a poem about Albuquerque’s ephemeral work. To commemorate the evening’s pairing of the poet and the artist, Archetype Press’s Gloria Kondrup crafted 75 letterpress broadsides sold at the event featuring “Music of the Spheres” hand-set in the color of Antarctic ice and incorporating the blue spheres of “Stellar Axis.”
With her presentation, Lita Albuquerque spoke briefly about her time in the Antarctic before screening a short film focusing on her installation. She followed the video by reading two entries from her diaries kept at the South Pole, remarking most notably on the scene’s untouched exquisiteness and overwhelming “whiteness” of the land.
After a final round of applause for the three speakers and another gesture of gratitude from Dr. Gale, guests exited the rooftop with new books and broadsides in hand.
Also, to Gloria Kondrup and Archetype Press for their creation of a broadside for this occasion.