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WPR CREATIVE FELLOWSHIP & GRANTS: Announcing the 2020-2021 Recipients

Terma installation by Stanley and Farooq

The Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to announce that the recipients of this year’s WPR Creative Fellowship are Jared Stanley and Sameer Farooq for their collaborative project, A Lip Smack, Laughter, Paper Rustles.”

It also gives us great pleasure to announce that Harmony Holiday has been selected as the recipient of this year’s WPR Creative Grant for her project, “Griot : Ghost”

The Poetry Room’s fellowship and grants program offers stipends to poets,
artists, and scholars to undertake creative projects that would benefit from
the resources available at the WPR archive, as well as from time spent at
Harvard University as a whole.

Past fellowship recipients have included Sawako Nakayasu, Tracie Morris, Kate Colby, Dan Beachy-Quick, Erin Moure, Eileen Myles, and Fanny Howe.

Poet Jared Stanley and interdisciplinary artist Sameer Farooq‘s project explores the incidental, non-poetic sounds an archive of literary readings collects—the rustling of paper, the clearing of a throat, authors’ ad-libbed banter, um‘s and pauses, intermittent laughter, and sounds and sirens from the outside world—all of which work in concert with the writer’s voice to create the sonic environment of the poetry reading.

In an archive, these sounds anchor the poet’s voice to particular places, times, embodiments, and audiences, to a soundworld—the improvisations, mistakes, mishearings, and absences are sonic markers that form an essential part of the experience of listening within an archive, an auditory trace of a poem’s comprehensive occasion.

Stanley and Farooq will conduct extensive research in the WPR’s audio archive, with the goal of collecting a historical cross-section of extraneous sounds. The final project will consist of a series of interlocking works, events, and objects, including the composition of a poem collaboratively by using the tones and rhythms of these found sounds, the production of two vinyl LPs (in honor of the Poetry Room’s twin listening booths), and the incorporation of these sonic traces into a culminating public performance at the Poetry Room.

Jared Stanley and Sameer Farooq are frequent collaborators whose work together explores the lyrical potential and trouble in archives and museum collections.

Jared Stanley is a poet and writer who often works with visual artists. Recent books include EARS (Nightboat, 2017), Shall (Black Rock Press, 2019), and Ignore the Cries of Empty Stones and Your Flesh Will Break Out in Scavengers (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2018). Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include the Lilley Museum (Reno), Other Places Art Fair (San Pedro), Spring Break Art Fair (New York), and the Atheneum Art & Music Library (La Jolla), in collaboration with Matthew Hebert. He teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Sameer Farooq is a Canadian artist of Pakistani and Ugandan Indian descent. He has held exhibitions at institutions around the world including the Lilley Museum, Nevada (2019), Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2017); Institute of Islamic Culture, Paris (2017), Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2016), The British Library (2015), Artellewa, Cairo (2014), and the Art Gallery of Ontario (2011). He is a recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, the Europe Media Fund, and the President’s Scholarship at the Rhode Island School of Design. 

Harmony Holiday’s project involves the creation of a series of radio programs and LPs that mix archival literary recordings with new instrumentation and beats. “Jazz record labels have been doing this to revivify their out-of-print and archival catalogs,” states Holiday, “and it seems time that literary archives follow.”

The series of LPs (“Griot: Ghost”)—and radio programs (in conjunction with LA’s Dublab)—will explore the tradition of recorded oratory and poetry and all of the ways it haunts and enhances and collaborates with the present. Each LP will include liner notes made of new writing and cited archival material and ephemera. The project will also put the Poetry Room’s collections (including its collection of Broadside Press materials) in conversation with other significant sound archives at the Poetry Project and the Schomburg Center.

Holiday is currently working on a play commissioned for LA’s 2020 biennial, and a collection of essays entitled Love is War for Miles in addition to other writing, film, and curatorial projects.

The Poetry Room wishes to thank the Anagnostopoulos family for their continued support of the WPR Creative Fellowship program. We look forward to welcoming Stanley, Farooq, and Holiday to campus next year.

Cover Art: Jared Stanley and Sameer Farooq.

Filed under: MEGAPHONE: News & Events


Christina Davis is the curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard University. She is the author of two poetry collections, AN ETHIC and FORTH A RAVEN, a recent collaborative sound-art installation, DISCORD, MA, and the manuscript-in-progress, SMALL EVERS.

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