The University of California Botanical Gardens covers 34 acres across Strawberry Creek and above the Berkeley campus. It offers walks along water that flows all year, shelter in creaking bamboo stands, fragrant gigantic-flowered magnolias, fog-dripping old redwood groves, and, up the wooded canyon, big views to the eastern skyline and to the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge to the west. Few know of the garden and it is little-visited.
Building off of previous projects featuring artists in the garden, poets Denise Newman and Hazel White are collaborating with the garden administrators and gardeners to create a poetry installation and transmedia project in hopes of deepening visitors’ interactions with the site and encouraging more visitors. Their “Seeing What Happens…” project will be composed of interactive installations at four locations in the garden; a virtual platform (blog posts, tweets); and seasonal tours of the installations.
Poet Denise Newman teaches collaboration and alternative poetry practices at California College of the Arts. She currently is completing the translation of a book of short stories by Danish author Naja Marie Aidt, to be published by Two Lines Press. Hazel White’s first book, Peril as Architectural Enrichment,was a finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award.