A.K. Mimi Allin
Architects adopting a poet? NBBJ did. The global architecture firm's Seattle office accepted performer and poet A.K. Mimi Allin's proposition to embark on the nation's first corporate poet residency. Her stage? A creative corporate setting.
"I believe poets and corporations have much to offer one another in the realms of power and creativity and that the artist can augment the heart of a corporation simply by being there," wrote Allin in her proposal to NBBJ. She didn't set out to write about the firm. Instead Allin chose to ponder and respond to the surroundings—the rooftop deck, the collaborative buzz of busy workspaces, a craftsmen's quirky creation in the model department, her commute via paddle boat across Lake Union.
Allin's month-long project, Adopt-A-Poet, took place in January 2010. Inside the firm's offices, she spent a day playing the role of a "blind" poet writing the acoustic architecture of the building. She covered concrete columns with chalk poems. She installed The Blue Line—1,500 feet of carefully laid blue tape that traced the firm's corridors and climbed its staircases. She filled the tape with free verse until her hand ached.
Allin chronicled her poetry residency via her blog, www.corporate-poet.blogspot.com. She is completing a chapbook of new poems and will host a public reading and a series of community events.