Julia Kim Smith

concrete poetry 2

Concrete Poetry 2 opening spring 2024, The Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, MD

Concrete Poetry 2 is an interactive outdoor installation of over 90 free-standing cast concrete letters placed on a platform of concrete pavers. Visitors to The Ivy Bookshop’s gardens are welcome to move the letters and write poetry. On occasion, noted authors are invited to feature their work.

Please handle the letters with care. Concrete was chosen as a medium because it is inexpensive and durable–but it can break. If a letter is broken, please set the pieces aside next to the sign. Broken letters will be repaired.

The gardens are family friendly, please refrain from the use of profanity and abusive language in your poetry.

As public art, Concrete Poetry 2 is an expression of community trust. It is permanent and mutable. As often the case with public art, permanence and immutability can prove to be elusive. Through the installation, I query: how do we move forward in an impermanent world?

In future iterations of Concrete Poetry, I will explore casting letters from concrete created from a mix of cement and post-consumer recycled materials such as coffee grounds, glass, and dirt, which has been shown to be stronger and more sustainable.

Concrete Poetry 2 is set in Clarendon, a slab serif with a bold, sturdy structure. It was created by Robert Besley for Fann—later Thorowgood and Co.—type founders (U.K.) in 1845 and exists today in modern iterations. Haas Clarendon was introduced as the U.S. National Park Service standard by Chermayeff and Geismar in 1975 and was in use on park signage until 2000.

Concrete Poetry 1