The Poetry Project


The Circle Room: the presence of touch in the five stages of life – a Dis/Course Meeting with Georgia Wall, The Ceremonialist

There is a room that is a circle. It exists in darkness and light.
Inside is poetry spoken in a language we can not touch.
Inside the room a baby floats on the water’s surface,
people pass objects hand to hand
and a yellow lion calls out from a bed of confetti.

What we read and look at together will be in response to
— and structured by —
these five stages / thresholds:
birth, childhood, adulthood, old age, death
(all these stages exist in the circle room)

How does touch exist at different points in a lifetime?
the touch of a caregiver
the touching of oneself
the touch of a stranger, a lover, an embalmer
To be touched and to give touch
In the cyclical framework of a life

During this gathering we will play at creating
something sacred together
imagining ourselves in the circle room

We will enter in silence, maybe there will be music,
we will sit, we will listen, we will share with words
or in other ways.
We will build an altar together
maybe someone will write a poem, a letter, or a list.
A candle— somewhere —is burning.


This is tentatively planned as a live indoor event at St. Mark's Church. To keep our community safe, The Poetry Project implements the following at all live eents: limiting the number of attendees; requiring proof of vaccination be shown at the door upon arrival; and requiring and providing face masks, as well as hand sanitizer stations. Before each event, we will also be conducting rapid tests for all performers and event staff. Attendees are required to register in advance, and contact information is collected at the point of registration in the event that we need to support any public health efforts around contact tracing. We are committed to the safety of our performers, audience, and event staff, and will be fully prepared to update any of these plans and protocols as circumstances continue to evolve. We are grateful to attendees for helping us maintain safety within our present public health context, and look forward to holding meaningful shared listening space together.

Please arrive prepared to show proof of vaccination and a photo ID at the door. Proof of vaccination may be in the form of your vaccination card (or a picture of your card), the NYC Covid Safe app, or the Excelsior app. If, for medical reasons, you have not been vaccinated, you may instead bring documentation of a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours.

We also encourage all event attendees to take a rapid test the day of the event before heading to the church. Here's a map of testing sites throughout the city. Thank you for helping us keep our wonderful community safe!


This program was funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.