Just in time for Memorial Day, the Smithsonian Institute released to its YouTube page previously unseen video footage of “Second-Generation New York School” poets Anne Waldman and Ted Berrigan performing their collaborative poem, “Memorial Day,” circa 1973. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, chase down the next person you find on the street brandishing a worn-out copy of some Donald-Allen-edited poetry anthology, and have her explain it.
Anyway, I’m writing about it here because this epic American poetry win (it’s the win that’s epic; the poetry is actually lyric) has a Baltimore dimension. Local experimental poet Megan McShea happens to work at the Archives of American Art and oversaw the preservation of the footage. She even went the extra mile and secured the permissions to make the video freely available on the Internet. Then she went the extra extra mile by sharing with BFB a little bit about her work with the AAA and the story of this particular art document.