Have you heard about "America Now and Here," an unconventional multi-year collaboration among artists determined to encounter America as a concept, a dream, a place, a sound -- and to create a dialogue with the American public.
The painter Eric Fischl, who came up with the idea, writes, "Let's explore a theme that everybody shares and build a dialogue around it: America. We'll start by sharing our ideas and experiences through the art that we make. Now, it's your turn. Let's use art to have a dialogue about America."
In addition to collaborative efforts between and among visual artists, playwrights, musicians, and filmmakers, a company of fifty-four poets were rounded up by Carol Muske Dukes and Bob Holman to compose a renga. The term derives from Japanese linked-verse as Basho and other masters practiced it; the poem grows incrementally as each new poet weighs in. The renga began with Robert Pinsky in Boston in October 2008 and ended with Robert Hass in Berkeley after a change of national administration. It was published recently by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux under the title Crossing State Lines.
Take a look at some of the things being done under the banner of America Now and Here. -- DL