On April 6th, the BYU Department of English, in collaboration with the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, sponsored a night of live poetry based on art currently on display in the museum. Dubbed Poetry Jam, the event featured a museum curator guiding two sessions of participants around the MOA; at selected stops, poets read their original work (previously chosen by judges from the MOA and Department of English) while standing adjacent to the art that provided their inspiration, pieces chosen from multiple exhibitions—such as “Embracing Diverse Voices: A Century of African-American Art,” “A Visual Testimony: Minerva Teichert’s Book of Mormon Paintings,” “To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion,” and “Shaping America”—currently on display at the MOA. Over 120 people were in attendance, including poets, students, poets’ families, and other BYU community members; the response was overwhelmingly positive, with many attendees asking for copies of the poets’ work—one student in attendance was so struck by the event that she compared her feelings during Poetry Jam to attending General Conference. While this was the first Poetry Jam hosted by BYU, many attendees expressed their desire that it would not be the last.
Visiting professor Jeff Tucker
One of the event organizers