Poetry for All!
If you’re in Millerton, NY, Salisbury, CT, or Great Barrington, MA, on Thursday, April 29, Andrew Belcher (left) or Athena Fliakos may approach you out of the blue. Their intense passion may lead you to believe they are proselytizing or politicking, but all they’re hoping to do is share their bliss by offering you a poem to read and put in your pocket (or on the refrigerator door when you get home.) “We’re piggybacking on the American Academy of Poets’ Poem in Your Pocket Day,” says Belcher, explaining that he and Fliakos have founded an arts organization based in Ashley Falls, MA, to produce and promote accessible art. “We call our organization Mass Bliss, and our goal is to make art that effects the quality of your day. Poem in Your Pocket Day perfectly fits our mission. We can provide people with a moment of reflection and contemplation for free.”
Belcher, who was an apprentice and an artist-in-residence at Berkshire Theatre Festival (BTF), believes that art should not be a special event. And while he is about to play the young Albert Einstein in Breath on the Mirror at the legendary East Village theater La MaMa etc, he does not think it is any more important than the plays he peformed with BTF at schools throughout Massachusetts. “I have seen every cafeteria, hallway and gymnasium in every elementary school in western Massachusetts,” he says, laughing. “I don’t think about Making It. I think about making art every day.” He hopes that Mass Bliss will provide a year-round home for artists who are in search of a creative community in the country. “There are people of varying ages and origins here who are dying to connect in a real way,” he says. “Poetry in the Pocket is an example that shows that making art and human connections do not have to be turned into a commodities.”