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ASU photographs inspire poems by Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos.
February 16, 2017

Project to celebrate National Poetry Month combines the words of Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos and images by ASU Now

In anticipation of National Poetry Month in April, Arizona Poet Laureate and Regents' Professor Alberto Ríos and ASU Now photographers Charlie Leight and Deanna Dent are collaborating to create a "visual sonnet." Each week we share a new image and poem on our @asunow Instagram account. When completed, the entire project - 14 images and poems, reflecting the number of lines in a sonnet - will be found on this page, culminating on April 27.

All images were captured not for "work," but as images that stood out to each photographer. Ríos then wrote short poems adapted to the images without knowing their initial context.

This isn't the first team project for Ríos, who often collaborates with community members and artists from different parts of Arizona. He knows the power that can come from combining ideas. 

"The best of collaboration suggests two or more people working not in service to each other, but to the idea they envision, differently," he said. "This seems an awkward assumption, but let me say it this way: I can say 'blue' to you and I will mean what I mean, but you will hear 'blue' and think what you think it means.

"Through our different understandings, though, together we create a third blue, a blue of difference, a blue that suddenly makes three blues where only two began. Something magical and transformative happens in that moment. Putting our blues together makes something happen, something palpably more."  

Ríos suggested the name Ekphrasis for the project, a Greek word summed up in a "verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined." 

A Sonnet of Images 
Ekphrasis.  Translation.  Conversation.

Click on the words below to jump down to that week's photo and poem:

1. In you I have the future...    2. Orange...    3. I play the game...    4. I stretch...  5. I was something...   6. In the great oculus...   7. World, I see you.   8. Great stone comb... 9. A caterpillar... 10. Thoughts lift off me... 11. However this happens... 12. We pledge... 13. We have come upon a man... 14. What is finally left of us...

 

 

 

graduation

1.
In you, I hug the future.
I hold to me the arms of what is going to happen.

I embrace the next edge of civilization,
The farthest forward we as human beings have ventured.

These robes we are wearing are not clothing—
They are the gift-wrapping of everything we know. 

I hold you tight.  I smile through the beautifully curled hair 
Of you.  I put my two hands

On the back of you.  Future,
I want to hold you like there’s no tomorrow— 

Which means, of course, that this tight hug,
Even if I cannot say it, is all tomorrow.

-Back to Top-

 

orange splatter 

2. 
Orange. 
In the dictionaries the earliest uses of the word in English refer to the fruit, that the

Color was later named after the fruit. Before the English-speaking world was exposed to the
Fruit, the color was referred to as “yellow-red” (geoluread in Old English) or “red-yellow.”

The word comes to us from late Middle English: from Old French orenge (in the phrase
Pomme d'orenge), based on Arabic naranj, from Persian narang.

So what, I say.
Do you dance? I ask, but I don’t wait— 

I spin you on the dance floor and watch your dress
Make the brilliant mark of the hard tango turn,

The scribbled signature of urgency made with the body,
The mark left that says I was here, in this moment, in this place.

I was here, that orange says, loudly and so much that to say anything more
We must turn to a next page.  This page, this moment—it is done.

-Back to Top- 

 

 child on carpet

3.
I play the game and am the game.  I play chess
And am the knight.  I play the cube

And turn, somehow, yellow into red,
Dream orange into green.  I am the game

Right now and yesterday, right now
And tomorrow.  I am the player and the board both

Trying everything to win.
Winning is a candy in my mouth. 

I lie on the bed of the game.
I am the game of me.

-Back to Top-

 

yoga in the museum 

4.
I stretch among the museum’s images,
Bend my body to their inclinations,

Try out orange and precipice,
Hold the sun and poke the eye of green. 

I stretch.  I grow among the images
And in answer to my lean 

They move themselves for me.  These paintings
And me, we are in this place together.

 -Back to Top-

 

Poetry photo

5.
I was something and now I am something else—
I have played the game of tag with myself, 

Standing up a little more with each incarnation
Through the centuries, standing up a little more 

And leaning a little farther forward.  I crouched
For so long, I stooped for so long, 

I ached through it all, all of it, all of me,
Unfolding, all in order to stand today, 

And more.  I am moving so that
I will fly tomorrow, unlikely as it may seem.

I will fly.  And then,
Wherever this trajectory takes me, I will go.

- Back to Top - 

 

 

oculus

6.
In the great oculus I see the fingernail moon,
The opal in the rafters, 

The worn space helmet,
The eye of the weatherless hurricane, 

The adjusting telescope allowing me
A view outward, but, simultaneously, 

The microscope of what can only be called
The gods, the greatness, the Out There, 

Its lens bearing down on me.  In this moment,
I have seen it and it has seen me.

-Back to Top-

 

 

7.
World, I see you.  Earth, I see you.
Do you see me?

I am here.  I bring with me my child.
I give this child to you 

As I was given.  I give this child
To this great world, unafraid,

Fierce, sturdy, with a ferociousness for good,
I give this child who is me.

-Back to Top-

 

 

8.
Great stone comb of the four directions—
It is nothing like that.  Don’t be fooled. 

I wear the chicken hat.
I am a man and a beast both. 

I speak and I cluck, I howl and I whisper,
I live in the sunflowers under the sky. 

I am the translation of man to animal,
Hummingbird to ant, lizard to moth. 

I direct the bees and elicit the breeze—
I am the crossroads.  I am the moment 

Oxygen moves into blood, I am when
Peahen screet moves from need into word.

-Back to Top-

 

cacti

9.
A caterpillar sometimes does not move forward,
Does not follow the centuries-old map of work-to-be-done. 

One Tuesday, it looks up.
One Thursday, it looks up again— 

These risings to the air are not much in their movement,
But in the history of things, everything has happened. 

This explains how cactus once moved through the desert,
Starting out as a caterpillar looking to the stars.

-Back to Top-

 

 

capoeria

10.
Thought lifts off me
As if it were a mist. 

I look hard and straight ahead—
That focus, sweat on my brow, 

Me finding water
Miraculously in the desert. 

It makes me think:
Perhaps when mist lifts off the ground, 

The ground itself, like me,
Is thinking.

Perhaps we are complicit
In the journey that comes next: 

I think.
And in that moment, 

I move one step ahead
Even as I am standing still.

-Back to Top-

 

 

poem 11

11.
However this happens, we see images, and they make us think of things—
A slide of a man with a beard, for example, his kind of beard, that fullness— 

It makes us think of the Lost Dutchman, and then, of course,
Of the treasure.  The Superstition Mountains.  Gold. 

We see images and they speak to something we hold inside ourselves—
Perhaps not gold itself, but a desire 

To find what has not been found.  Perhaps these images guide us,
Are themselves maps, and the Great X is not myth after all, 

But something, something like gold, that we have been looking for
But all the while have been thinking someone else would find.

Suddenly, this image is our chance, though no one else would know.
This image, however unlikely, has sparked a fire in us that will not be settled. 

There is something, something that is ours, out there.
We might laugh at the Lost Dutchman’s mine, but we know what is ours.

-Back to Top-

 

 

poem12

12.
We pledge and are aghast in the same gesture.
We move into the coming years

Clutching the heart, or feeling at the heart constantly,
Checking to gauge what may or may not be held 

In the grace of its rooms.  When all else is full, is crowded,
The heart, we think, is where to go.

-Back to Top-

 

 

poem 13

13.
We have come upon a man
Who is telling us to stop.  To go another way.

We have come upon a man we do not know,
But we give him the courtesies of humankind. 

We listen.  We are so many, there are many
Thoughts, many words, many ways to move forward. 

And yet, a good voice.  A good reason.  We are one
In that moment.  In that moment, there are no strangers.

-Back to Top-

 

 

poem14

14.
What is finally left of us
Is sometimes unrecognizable—

That we have been other beasts
Through the centuries 

May be forgotten to us awake,
But it is asleep in our bones, 

The past of us,
The monsters that snarled, but who in turn 

Tamed each other.  We are the alien
And the friend both. 

Our bones are the bones
Of story.

-Back to Top-

 
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CPR/AED certification and awareness may save lives

February 20, 2017

Heart Health Awareness Month underscores automated external defibrillator training at Arizona State University.

Anyone may use an AED to analyze a heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock to re-establish a rhythm in an abnormal or stopped heart. The AED machine talks to the user and gives step by step instructions. 

 

Public-access AEDs are located in common areas of many university buildings such as first-floor corridors, near the main restrooms or by elevators.

AEDs are also located in:

  • Athletic venues
  • ASU Police vehicles
  • Fulton Center
  • New or renovated buildings since 2007
  • Residential halls
  • Student unions 

View more than 300 ASU AED locations.

“In an emergency, call 911 and use the CPR/AED skills we teach in our awareness classes,” said Alex Gutierrez, ASU’s AED program manager. “AED training may help you save someone’s life.”

To use an AED, you don’t need to be certified. Environmental Health and Safety offers in-person CPR/AED awareness training. If you want to be certified, Sun Devil Fitness hosts CPR/AED certification and ASU partner Emergency University offers online CPR/AED certification.

AED devices save lives

Geography senior Josh Groth works at the Tempe Sun Devil Fitness Center as an aquatic student coordinator. He also taught an AED/CPR and First Aid certification classes. He said certification gives confidence in emergency situations and that the training is easy to complete. 

“The certification class is only about four hours long, and it’s a great mix of hands-on practice and information,” Groth said. “The instructors are invested in getting participants certified, so there is plenty of help during classes.”

For anyone at ASU who would like to take an awareness training, a certified CPR/AED instructor leads EHS’s free, 90-minute awareness training, but it will not result in certification. Participants learn chest compression CPR and how to use an AED.

ASU is recognized by the Arizona Department of Health Services as a Heart Safe organization. Visit the EHS AED webpage for more information. 

Peter Northfelt

Editor assistant, Business and Finance Support – Communications

480-727-4059