In recent weeks, we’ve been telling you about the addition of a literary element to our collection of audio tours. We’ve also been working hard to recover from October’s unseasonably early snowstorm in time for the dedication of our 50-acre Forest.
literary audio tour
|Paul Lisicky is the author of Lawnboy, Famous Builder, and The Burning House. His next book, Unbuilt Projects, is forthcoming. A New York City resident, he is a contributing member of the NYBG’s literary audio tours program, an opportunity for talented writers to add a touch of poetry to the exploration of the Garden.
The sandy soil, the boggy ponds: whenever I feel an inexplicable sense of geographic safety (say, in parts of Cape Cod, coastal North Carolina, or Florida), I understand soon enough that I’m looking at a replica of my childhood backyard–or at least the woods and marshes nearby.
And yet I once wanted to be elsewhere. Or at least I wanted my plants and trees to be elsewhere. I wanted them to grow in unexpected shapes, leaves large as shovels. I wanted them to be a little scary, a little closer to life as I knew it, which felt to me both beautiful and a little brutal. (Don’t children always know that consciousness is darker than their parents remember?) On childhood trips to Florida or California, my eye went first to the plants. The plants in warmer climates weren’t bound to restraint or to the pressures of some unnameable force, the codes always changing, impossible to decipher. Their oranges could be brighter; their trunks could be thicker, their vines could grow and twist until they made a mess of themselves, until you had no idea that the plant had once been a beautiful thing.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Garden offers a range of audio tours providing additional insights into our collections and exhibitions, as well as information about horticulture and the research initiatives going on here and across the world. Recently we told you about our partnership with the National Book Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, a collaboration undertaken to add a literary element to our tours.
Early this year, the New York Botanical Garden partnered with National Book Foundation and Poetry Society of America to create a literary element to our audio tours. With support from an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, we reached out to a number of NYC-based authors and poets and asked them to produce works based on their experiences or certain areas of the Garden.
You can access the audio tour two ways:
Using your cell phone, call 718.362.9561 and type in the number next to the audio tour symbol on signs throughout the Garden grounds. You can even call from home if you’d like.
What do you think of the new Audio Literary Tour? Are there any NYC-based authors you’d like to see for upcoming seasons? Leave us a comment and let us know!