Ama Codje. Photo: Jamie Harmon
Informed by the theme I Feel Therefore I Can Be Free, Codjoe will structure community-building experiences through the yearlong residency.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in collaboration with the Academy of American Poets, presents Ama Codjoe as its Poet-in-Residence for 2023. The residency, now in its second year, builds upon the institution’s legacy of engaging forms of abstraction in the visual arts and beyond, as well as its history with poetry events, and continues the Guggenheim’s commitment to amplifying diverse voices and perspectives within its programming. In her new role, Codjoe will structure a series of happenings, readings, and interventions around the theme I Feel Therefore I Can Be Free, a quote from Audre Lorde’s 1977 essay “Poetry Is Not a Luxury” that explores how sensuality, caesura, and care are integral materials of written, visual, and time-based arts.
“Poetry, like visual art, makes space to breathe, pause, and consider,” said the new Poet-in-Residence. “I hope to highlight these similarities by creating programming that invites the public into multisensory poetic encounters: exchanges that draw on poetry’s capacity to evoke feeling.”
Poetry has long been celebrated at the Guggenheim, beginning in 1963 with the Academy of American Poets’ presentation of poetry readings in the Peter B. Lewis Theater. The Guggenheim established the Poet-in-Residence program in collaboration with the Academy of American Poets in 2021, with major support from Van Cleef & Arpels, to create enriching experiences with poetry for visitors while considering how the museum may serve as an active public space for people to gather and develop both visionary ideas and a sense of community. Taylor Johnson was the inaugural Poet-in-Residence in 2022.
The 2023 residency will invite speakers, collaborators, and guests of all ages to a range of events, workshops, and activations, and aims to promote community-building through the arts, provide a sense of welcome and embodiment, and offer multisensory ways to connect, or reconnect, to the environment of the museum.
“A museum should be a place to gather new thoughts and to expand how we see and understand the world. Poets make that possible through language and form and we are excited for a year of unfolding ideas with Ama Codjoe, our partners, and our community.” —Cyra Levenson, Deputy Director and Director of Education and Public Engagement
“The Academy of American Poets is thrilled to deepen our collaboration with the Guggenheim on the Poet-in-Residence program, and to have poetry featured so prominently as part of the museum’s public offerings in 2023. We congratulate Ama Codjoe and look forward to experiencing I Feel Therefore I Can Be Free come to life in the year ahead.” —Tess O’Dwyer, Board Chair, Academy of American Poets
Through an open call organized in collaboration with the academy, Codjoe was selected as Poet-in-Residence by Jen Bervin, award-winning poet and visual artist; Terrance Hayes, National Book Award-winning poet and 2014 MacArthur Fellow; Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; Nikay Paredes, Programs Director at the Academy of American Poets; and Alan Seise, Manager, Public Programs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
About Poet-in-Residence Ama Codjoe
Ama Codjoe is the author of Bluest Nude (Milkweed Editions, 2022) and Blood of the Air (Northwestern University Press, 2020), winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. She has been awarded support from the Bogliasco, Cave Canem, Robert Rauschenberg, and Constance Saltonstall foundations as well as Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Hedgebrook literary arts organization, Yaddo, Hawthornden Literary Retreat, and MacDowell Arts Colony. Her recent writing has appeared in the Sun, the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, and the Best American Poetry series. Among other honors, Codjoe has received fellowships from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the New York State Council/New York Foundation of the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation.
About the Academy of American Poets
Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states and beyond. The organization annually awards $1.3 million to more than two hundred poets at various stages of their careers through its prize and fellowship programs. The organization also produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; established and organizes National Poetry Month each April; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides free resources to K–12 educators, including the award-winning weekly Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition that promotes the value poets bring to our culture.
About Van Cleef & Arpels
Founded at 22 Place Vendôme, Paris, in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels came into being following Estelle Arpels’s marriage to Alfred Van Cleef in 1895. With a blend of inventiveness and poetry, Van Cleef & Arpels perpetuates a highly distinctive style. Its selection of exceptional gems that instill an emotion and the savoir faire of its craftsmen have given birth to enchanting jewelry and watchmaking collections. Whether inspired by nature, couture, dance, or imaginary worlds, the Maison opens the gate to a timeless universe of beauty and harmony. Van Cleef & Arpels’ constant commitment to creation also finds expression in its various activities as a partner and patron in the cultural field. Reflecting the Maison’s attachment to values of transmission and sharing, these initiatives take place in sectors that it holds dear, including heritage protection, fine and decorative arts, design, dance, and poetry.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is now among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.