Cheryl Lynn Parry

(USA, 1949)


Home (the earth is a poem) is inspired by the great American poet, Walt Whitman, and his vision of the United States as a “great poem” – an experiment in the creation of a diverse and democratic “New Eden”. It is made up of a fabricated window, a hoe with preserved leaves emerging from the top, and two stools. On one of the stools rests an open copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”. I drilled many holes in the book and planted in these small holes preserved blades of grass but left this part of the verse in the book exposed:

Take my leaves America!

Make welcome for them everywhere, for they are your own off-

Surround them East and West, for they would surround you,

And you precedents, connect lovingly with them, for they connect
lovingly with you.

I wrote my own small poem as a response and it is framed on the wall:

The earth is a poem, Walt Whitman –

all margins, no borders:

La tierra es un poema, Walt Whitman –

todos es margen, sin fronteras.

IN/SITE92 is about Transcending Borders. The earth and nature itself do not recognize “borders” and as humanity is part of nature, borders are essentially artificial - a fabrication. The dictionary defines the word “transcend”: verb [ trans. ] be or go beyond the range or limits of (something abstract, typically a conceptual field or division).

As we can expect from the mind of a poet deeply receptive to the idea of justice and love of humanity, Whitman’s verse presents a vision of this country that we can look at against the reality of what we actually are and alongside the imagining of an America as a “great poem” that we could one day create.

–Cheryl Parry

Organizer: Lyceum Theatre Gallery
Venue: Lyceum Theatre Gallery, San Diego