Tonight, the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center for the Arts will present the fifth production of the Blank Page Poetry show. Organized by Jerome Meadows (of the Indigo Sky Community Gallery), Blank Page Poetry: Words & Shadows will feature spoken word performances by local poets accompanied by projections, dance choreographed by Brea Cali (director of the Savannah Dance Festival) and drumming accompaniment. This year’s theme is “If Ever These Rivers Could Speak”, inspired by Jepson Center exhibits (notably Whitfield Lovell’s “Deep River” installation) and the geographic and historical significance of Savannah’s water systems.
Meadows told Connect Savannah: “The poems and dance movements selected and designed for this event draw upon references to the Savannah River, the surrounding creeks, and the rich marshland that defines this area on many levels. […] The theme seemed obvious right off the bat—of course anything that talks about Savannah’s water system will reflect the flowing of a river, the concept of past, present, and future.”
This particular iteration of the Blank Page Poetry show was also inspired by the infamous 1864 Ebenezer Creek Incident. Hundreds of freed slaves, trying to outrun confederate soldiers, attached themselves to the Union army led by Sherman during his March to the Sea. They quickly came to be regarded as a “growing encumbrance”. When the time came to cross a pontoon bridge at Savannah’s Ebenezer Creek, Sherman ordered the slaves left behind and the bridge cut. In their desperation to escape Confederate soldiers who were closing in on their position, many of the freed slaves drowned trying to cross the creek and those who survived were captured and re-enslaved. The betrayal was witnessed by a Union Colonel whose written account will be projected and incorporated into the performance.
Blank Page Poetry: Words & Shadows is being presented FREE of charge on Thursday, October 16 at the Jepson Center’s Neises Auditorium at 6:30pm.