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Announcing the Recipients of the 2024-2025 Creative Fellowship & Grant

Still photograph from Fiona Templeton's play, "The Blue."

The Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to announce that the recipient of this year’s WPR Creative Fellowship is Fiona Templeton for her project “Songs Between Worlds.” She will receive a $5,000 stipend and a one-week residency at the Eliot House in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

It also gives us immense pleasure to announce that Maia Tserediani and Ryan Sherman have been selected as the recipients of this year’s WPR Creative Grant for their collaborative project “From Tbilisi to Woodberry: Translating the Order of the Blue Horns.” They will receive a stipend of $2,500.

All recipients will be provided with year-long access to a range of Harvard libraries and university resources, as well as extensive research support from the Poetry Room’s curatorial staff. We look forward to welcoming them during the upcoming academic year.

ABOUT THE PROJECT: During her fellowship, Fiona Templeton will focus on “Songs Between Worlds,” a poetic dipytch, currently in progress. A common thread of women and orality runs through the two works, bringing together two disappearing cultures at the edge of their continents: northwestern Scotland and northeastern Japan.

The diptych is intended for oral performance, layering multiple modes of storytelling, including songs, poems, narrative, history, film and photography. The two narratives—and the overlapping poetry—center on two women, Nakamura Take, the oldest living Itako (a blind female shaman in Northeast Japan whose ritual is verbal), and the 16th century woman oral poet Mairi Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh of Berneray and Skye in Northwest Scotland.

During her time at the Poetry Room, she will deepen her immersion into what Barthes called the “grain of the voice” of poets, as well as her exploration of the library’s Gaelic and Japanese-language materials.

ABOUT THE PROJECT: In the early 20th century, a youthful cadre of poets ignited the literary landscape of the Caucasus. Inspired by the French Symbolists, they called themselves “The Order of the Blue Horns.” In 1916, they proclaimed in their eponymous journal:

“To the bards of Georgia, to the dreamers, to the Georgian people! Listen to our message everyone! We were born to the death of many, a filthy world warmed by the sun, where people have forgotten the beauty of boldness. We reveal ourselves to the shadowy being of Georgia, bathing in a new radiance, and we will teach people who have lost dreams the holy way to the blue temple of the future.” (trans. by Tserediani and Sherman)

During their grant, translators Tserediani and Sherman aim to render the poetry of the Blue Horns into English, drawing on the Poetry Room’s collection of Beat poetry recordings for inspiration. “Both the Beats and the Blue Horns were animated by new visions of art, and embraced spontaneity, raw emotion, performance, and experimentation. Like the Beats, much of the Blue Horns’ early poetry was to be spoken, or shouted, at gatherings and parties. Whatsmore, the flexible language of Beat poetry mirrors many of the creative innovations required by translation: coinages, experimental layerings, and novel constructions. By examining the techniques of Beat performance, we hope to improve our craft and ‘discover’ English renderings that encapsulate the meanings, nuances, and phonetic resonance embedded in the poetry of the Blue Horns.”

ABOUT THE ARTISTS: Maia Tserediani and Ryan Sherman strive to maintain well-adjusted and orderly lives in Tbilisi, Georgia. Their daily routines include toast and coffee for breakfast, several unrewarding scrolling sessions per day, and a few curious moments of gazing hopefully out the nearest window. On weekdays, they head to separate offices and reunite at their flat in the evenings. Their daughter, Ia, who turns three in September, delights in very early mornings, issuing commands, and free solo climbing on furniture. In November 2023, they published their first collection of translations, May These Ashes Be Light: Georgian Poetry and Prose from the Soviet Shadow, with Intelekti Press.

Cover Image: From Fiona Templeton’s, “The Blue,” performed at LaMaMa, 2017.

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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