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caption: Poet Thomas Pruiksma at Lyric World 
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Poet Thomas Pruiksma at Lyric World
Credit: Courtesy of Eric Frommer

A world where poetry meets magic and wonder

When we edit audio these days, we have the option of marking voice or sound clips in various colors. I did that for this episode. The effect is quite beautiful.

In this case, the colors represent a seemingly simple tableau: a variety of poetry, music and conversation. The event was the first in a new series, Lyric World, curated by the poet Shin Yu Pai:

“…a series that could focus on the social role of poetry, how poetry can be relevant to our everyday lives and its power to provoke deeper conversations on matters of being human together.”

In this first iteration, you’ll hear from and about the poetry, music and magic of Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma. His most recent collection of poems is The Safety of Edges.

“Pruiksma touches upon the similarities between poetry, magic, and music to explore the boundaries and edges of what’s visible and to gaze more deeply into the nature of wonder.”

You’ll also hear pieces by the kora player and griot-trained jeli Ibrahim Arsalan. “In West African society, the jeli preserved ancient stories and traditions through song, throughout the generations. They are believed to have deep connections to spiritual, social, and political powers.”

Then Seattle-based poet Melanie Noel joins Pruiksma in conversation about his work. We can’t provide you with scenes of the visual magic that took place at this event, but here’s hoping you’ll feel it.

Shin Yu Pai is the author of ten books of poetry. Her next collection, Ensō, comes out in April. This first Lyric World event took place at Town Hall Seattle on January 30. The next event in the series is coming up on March 19. It will feature the work of poet Koon Woon.