Monday, June 22, 2009

Poetry Playground $5

The Fremont Abbey
Weekly, drop-in sessions
Tuesdays 7 - 8:30 PM
$5 /session

Exercise Your Poet
This class generates experiences from which artists of all levels can grow. One of our regulars is in his 40s. Another is 7 years old. The Poetry Playground is a place to explore poetry in physical ways. Guided, unguided and group play in a studio setting. All genders, genres and levels welcome. Sessions include a warm-up (voice, movement and writing), written exercises, group work, solo work and time to share. This kind of “play” hopes to develop into a “practice” you can take with you. Classes are drop-in. It is not necessary to pre-register. Bring a pen and notebook. It’s time to play!

INSTRUCTOR: A. K. “Mimi” Allin teaches poetry, poetry on art and guerilla poetry classes to youth and adults. Allin founded the monthly poetry & performance series “Untitled [Intersection]” at the PNA in Seattle.

** To inquire: (617) 460-6110 or

Friday, June 19, 2009

Following Junk @ Westlake Center

Following Junk
Westlake Center
Friday 19 June 2009
It was a whimsical performance that wanted telling bad enough.... it got told. It was a rowboat on wheels. A boat filled with gold. Or was it candy? Hey, that's Frank Junk -- isn't it? Or is it a magical musician? Whover he is, he's making eerie music with his metal dishes, and that's making eerie weather, which is causing eerie things to happen. He's plucking and bowing and plinking and stretching his notes up into the trees.
He's drawing lines of children. They're rolling through the park and the forest and floating down rivers. They're popping out at the sea and struggling back up into the country.
They weathered a storm. They came to a rest in a golden field, a trail appeared behind them. Where had they gone? What will happen to them now?

Our Very Own Private Author

Olympia poet, Elizabeth She, kindly accepted the offer to come view our performance and write a story about it. Her story will be posted here this Monday, with her permission, after it is read aloud at the Fremont Solstice Parade on Staurday. Check back! Elizabeth wrote a beautiful story about a heavy boat being hauled through the forest by a girl named Mimi. Her friend Frank was traveling with her. Nomads. Far from the sea. Frank plays sweet and spicy music. Mimi pulls their burdens around. They meet a greedy monkey. They are followed by a rat and a talking horse. After the performance, Elizabeth shared her story with us. The intention of this project was to urge onlookers to follow a visual story with their imagination, to suck it back onto the page....schuuuLP.

Following Junk
by Elizabeth Shé (pronounced Shay)

written Juneteenth 2009 in response to a moving performance by Mimi Allin and Frank Junk

Once upon a time, there was a magic musician named Frank Junk. He loved to play instruments of any and every kind.

Frank was followed by mysterious creatures: some shiny, some black, some tall, some pink.

Frank had a friend named Mimi, a gorilla of brilliant hue.

Mimi and Frank were nomads – they traveled from place to place, pulling a boat filled with golden objects. Some folks thought the gold was money, and stole it when Mimi and Frank weren’t looking.

Some people said it was magical, gold-covered candy. If you ate it, strange things would happen to you, depending on your state of mind:
If you were a peaceful person, the candy brought sweet dreams and bliss.
If you were an angry person, perhaps your head exploded.
If you were sad, perhaps the candy took all your cares away.

One day, a monkey fell from a tree into the boat as it was passing below. The monkey screamed and grabbed handfuls of the golden pieces.

Mimi stopped in her tracks, but Frank kept playing. His song was sad and sweet and spicy and silly, all at the same time.

The monkey looked at Frank, then looked at Mimi, then looked at the gold in his hand. He jumped out of the boat and climbed back up his tree… or he tried to. He quickly realized he couldn’t climb while holding the gold. He had to make a decision.

Frank kept playing the sad, sweet, spicy, silly music, and looked at the monkey, who looked at him.

Mimi sat in the road. She was tired of pulling the boat.

“Monkey see, monkey do,” said Frank, over the sad, sweet, spicy, silly music.

BANG! the monkey threw the gold back in the boat, and scampered up the tree.

Mimi jumped up and clapped her hands.

Frank laughed and played his sad, sweet, spicy, silly music.

Mimi reached into the boat, grabbed a piece of gold, and threw it up to the monkey in the tree.

Did the monkey catch it?
Was it money or was it food?
Did the monkey’s head explode, or were all his cares washed away?
What do you think happened?

Meanwhile, at the same time, down the road apiece, walked a horse, a girl, and a very hungry rat.

“I’m starving!” grumbled the rat. “It’s been 45 minutes since my last meal!”

“Hush, Ratty,” said the horse. “Can’t you hear the music?”

What did they hear?

Sad and sweet, spicy and silly… MUSIC!… coming from down the road.

“Pick me up,” said Ratty, so the girl set him on her shoulder. “I can’t see,” he said, and climbed up her hair to the top of her head.

As the horse, the girl, and the very hungry rat drew closer, the music got louder: sad, then sweet, spicy, then silly.

Soon they saw a tall tree by the side of the road.
They saw Mimi dancing and clapping her hands.
They saw a boat.

“Is that a boat?” asked the horse.

“Yes,” said the girl, “ so far, so far from sea.”

Soon the horse, the girl, and the rat on her head were close enough to see a glimmer of gold.

Was it money or was it food?
Where was the monkey?
Who were the mysterious creatures a little bit behind the boat, some shiny, some black, some tall, some pink?

What do you think?

The horse stuck her head down into the boat. “Smells like hay,” she said.

“Looks like gold,” sniffed Ratty. “Not very good to eat.”
Frank laughed. Mimi laughed. The monkey, up in the tree, hidden behind leaves and branches, laughed.

Mimi grabbed handfuls of the golden objects and threw them up in the air.

Was it money or was it food?
Did the girl’s head explode or were her cares washed away?
Who were those mysterious creatures, some shiny, some black, some tall, some pink?

What do you think happened?
You tell me, if you please.
My belly is full of golden candy.
Do you think my head will explode?


Thank You
To my collaborators Frank Junk (music composition & performance) and Mylinda Sneed (puppet direction). Thanks to Ingrid Lahti for asking me to present a few performances at Westlake. Thanks to Elizabeth She for writing and sharing her beautiful words with us. Thanks to Shin Yu Pai for attending and supporting. Thanks to the Fremont Arts Council and to Artsparks for material funding and support.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Hop, Leap, Hurdle & Move

This poetry-infused project (sponsored by Artspark) happened outside, at Westlake Center in Seattle, on Thursday 18 June at noon. It was outlandish. It was odd. It was Thursday. No, it was not easy. But we hopped. It was noon. We hopped nonstop. For poetry. Yes poetry. And sweet summery mirth. No doubt we'd do it again, but in the woods next time. We gave away 300 poems. We instigated 30 that we know of. We gave it our hop, leap, hurdle and move. We grew tired, then quiet, then all of our poems were gone. And so now... let summer begin!

Mimi spent most of her time handing out poems and cricket-clickers, explaining the project to all who passed. She hopped three times and realized hopping is hard!

Jeremy Halinen couldn't be stopped. He hopped straight through for an hour and a half. It was his personal goal to see if he could do it. He could. When asked where he would be if he weren't here hopping, he said, "work."

Jacob Jans, the first to begin hopping. He hopped high and long, lean and strong, taking breaks only to write poetry.

Paige Barnes was a wonderful hopper and also helped hand out poems and clickers. Thank you Paige!

Writing poems in response to the jumping poets and clicking crickets and warm summer's day.


An Impasse of Poets was a live installation of 100 poets at The Seattle Art Museum on Thursday 11 June 2009, curated by A. K. Allin for SAM Word.
A gorgeous and wide range of voices and ages, local and out-of-state poets came together for this event -- our bodies and words making impasses on the escalators, moving through the galleries, crashing in The Porcelain Room, wrapping round a silver emperor's robe in the Ebsworth Gallery, starting all time in The Italian Room and finally reclining on the Grand Staircase, murmuring poetry for almost ten minutes. We appeared on all 4 levels of the museum over the course of an hour. Thanks to all the poets who participated in this memorable and inspiring event. There are images of this historical event and of the fine poets who participated in it on Gene Frogge's SmugMug site. Thank you, Gene, for documenting this event. They are wonderful! I especially love the portraits in the Brotman Forum and those of the poets at various stages of assembly on the Grand Staircase.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

summer? poetry?

The Field | Seattle
Mostly Poets Summer Session
Sundays, 2 to 4 pm
July 12 to August 30
Artists of all disciplines encouraged, poets especially encouraged. Show work and give feedback weekly. E-mail: Sessions filled on a first-come, first-served basis. 8-week session: $60 first-timers, $50 if you have participated before. All sessions held at Studio-Current, 1417 10th Ave, btwn E. Pike & E. Union.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

3 poetry-infused performances in 3 days

Curated by A. K. "Mimi" Allin
Westlake Park | Seattle | Thursday 18 June 2009 | 11:30am-1:30pm

"Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.” --Ludwig Wittgenstein

3 mini trampolines, 9 poets, hundreds of cricket clickers (toy metal clickers), each with a small poem about crickets, grasshoppers and sweet, summery mirth. Poets take turns jumping and writing about their experience. Cricket-Poems are handed to onlookers. All are encouraged to chirp away and write poetry. This event will provide a unique experience for both public and poet, and should, I hope, provoke laughter! Jumping poets include: Jacob Jans, Jared Leising, Paige Barnes, Jeremy Halinen, Megan Ady and Heather Joy Gosnell. Let us follow Ludwig Wittgenstein into the green valleys of silliness! Cricket clickers donated by Top Ten Toys. Photocopying and cutting by Kinko's.

This project is one of many in a summer-long series being curated at Westlake Park by Seattle artist Ingrid Lahti for Artsparks. Artsparks, a new and experimental program, is bringing the creative energy of Seattle’s vibrant arts community into daily downtown life.

2. FOLLOWING JUNK | Creating Story
Curated by A. K. "Mimi" Allin
Puppet direction by Mylinda Sneed
Westlake Park | Seattle | Friday 19 June 2009 | 11:30am-1:30pm

"Following Junk" is a whimsical and moving performance that wants a story. A wooden rowboat set on wheels and filled with gold-wrapped candies, occupied by magical musician (local instrument-maker Frank Junk plucking and bowing his homemade instruments or Junkophones). 10-20 junk puppets will follow along as the boat rolls through through the park.

We want to know-- Where is the magical musician going? Why are the puppets following? Are they children? Is he the pied piper? Is the boat filled with gold nuggets or magical candies? Or are they junk? What’s junk? Is it what’s in the boat or what’s in the children’s heads? 4 or more children’s authors will be present to view the performance and write stories about it. This all happens outside at Westlake Park at noon on Friday 19 June 2009. Authors include Sarit Goren, Danae' Clark, Shin Yu Pai and Elizabeth She. We want to urge onlookers to follow a visual story with their imaginations. Some of the freshly composed stories will be shared at 1PM, before the close of the performance. They will then feature in The Fremont Solstice Parade on 20 June.

This project is also a part of Seattle artist Ingrid Lahti's summer series for Artsparks.

3. FOLLOWING JUNK | Telling Story
Parade float with junk puppets & umbrella walkers (a tumbling river)
Co-curated by A. K. "Mimi" Allin, Mylinda Sneed & Frank Junk
The Fremont Solstice Parade | Seattle | Saturday 20 June 2009 | 12:00pm-2:00pm

The same ensemble that floated around Westlake Park will tour Fremont's Solstice Parade. This time there will be real children walking with the junk puppets, handing out the gold-wrapped candies and animating white umbrellas to form a dancing river. Now that we have stories to go with the ensemble, we read out lines from them to the crowd.

Following Junk was awarded a Dave McKay Grant. Thanks to The Fremont Arts Council for their support!