Poetry News

Frank Sherlock's Neighbor Ballads

By Harriet Staff


If you live in Philadelphia, you're one of the lucky few able to take part in Journeys South, a public art installation and group of walking tours arranged by the city's Mural Arts Program: "The seven artists creating each part of Journeys South, five of whom were born and raised and/or currently reside in South Philadelphia, worked with community members, historians, and folklorists to gain a deeper understanding of the culture and history of South Philadelphia's legendary neighborhoods."

For his part, a project called "Neighbor Ballads," poet and Philly native Frank Sherlock (author of Over Here, among other books) worked with print artist Erik Ruin to create poetic broadsides (other projects that got "off the wall" includes sidewalk footprints done by a dance-theatre group, and awnings for market vendors) that are available for free from honor boxes along South 9th Street and East Passyunk Avenue, between Carpenter and South 12th Streets. The broadsides were the result of interviews and engagement with seven South Philadelphians, who talked with Sherlock at length about their immigrant experience--now told through "poetry and portraits that pay homage to the contributions each has made to shaping the character of South Philadelphia."

According to the website, FREE walking tours of Journeys South will depart each Saturday from Pronto, 920 South 9th Street (at Montrose Street) at 10:00 am beginning Saturday, April 30 through Saturday, June 11. Word on the street, if you will, is that you can tour with Kelly Writers House summer staff, if you like. As well, a quite thorough article about the installation can be read here.

Originally Published: June 7th, 2011