Anna Winham

Poetry Society of New York
The Brooklyn Typewriter Project
Artistic Discipline: Interdisciplinary
Category: Brooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2020
Location: Bushwick

The Poetry Society of New York is a non-profit dedicated to promoting poetry within the culture.

The Brooklyn Typewriter Project is a series of site-specific installations, which invite passersby to join in a communal, poetic exchange that exists in both analog and digital forms. These typewriter booths are each outfitted with a vintage typewriter, 100-foot long paper scroll, and a custom-built USB Typewriter™ kit, which allows every keystroke to be collected, stored, and posted online for users to read, share, and comment upon. The project is largely inspired by the idea of an Exquisite Corpse, a surrealist writing game in which several authors contribute to one poem.

Obviously each entry in The Brooklyn Typewriter Project can be its own distinct lyric, but it is hoped that users will also be influenced by what was written before them on the scroll. By creating a new and unique form of public dialogue, this project hopes to capture something of the sound, narrative, and nuance of specific corners of the city. The Typewriter Project’s mission is to investigate, document, and preserve the poetic subconscious of the city while providing a fun and interactive means for the public to engage with the written word.

The Brooklyn Typewriter Project will include five typewriter booths, sprinkled throughout Brooklyn for the month of July, open to all borough residents and visitors for participation. Exact locations will depend upon funding and negotiation, but prospects include: House of Yes, the City Reliquary, and Brooklyn Public Libraries. BAC funds will be used both to obtain booth materials as well as to rent the spaces. PSNY staff and performers will execute the project, while the public will benefit. Each different booth will allow a different memory, a different subconscious, to be built and recorded. The public’s subconscious, rather than one distinguished writer's, will be recorded both on paper and in the cloud. Too often, poetry is seen as the object of lofty and exclusive spaces. The Brooklyn Typewriter Project not only insists but also demonstrates that poetry is public property.