Letter to a Corporation

Dear Sir or Madam:

My name is A. K. "Mimi" Allin. I've received funding from The Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs for a project called Adopt-A-Poet, which entails placing me, the poet, in a corporation in Seattle for one month. This will be the nation’s first “Corporate Poet Residency,” an exciting proposition for which I believe a corporation stands to gain recognition as a company with a penchant for the arts and for innovation. I would welcome a meeting to talk about a Corporate Poet Residency at NBBJ.

I’m a professional artist. I have worked with a number of local institutions to activate spaces and create communities–Bumbershoot, SAM, ACT, Seattle Parks & Recreation. I believe NBBJ and the poet have some common interests. Your interests in creating a more liveable world and in shaping a future that enhances lives and inspires human potential, ring loud and clear to and through the poet.

What possible value can a poet offer a corporation? If a poet were to go looking for a corporate soul and found one…or affirmed the notion that ideas do change the world…or proposed ongoing research into the self as a means of discovering the world…or offered hope or faith or… When Bachelard spoke of Desire Paths, he meant poets in corporations and corporations in communities, intentional living in spaces shaped by love and attention. No doubt, you get that. The poet works to articulate that.

There’s evidence, too, that keeping artists within communities increases property values. I’m proposing that keeping a poet in the workplace will do the same for job values. Art (be it performance or writing or visual art on the walls) boosts moral, draws communities together, wakes people to their surroundings. Poets have a unique way of plucking the nerves in us that wants to live outside of the mundane, that strive and hope and grow. Why work for a company that cares about us? We long for meaning. 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. “A home (corporation) without a cat (poet)--and a well-fed, well-petted, and properly revered cat (poet)-- may be a perfect home (corporation), perhaps, but how can it prove its title?” (Mark Twain).

Here is the residency I propose:
1. NBBJ supplies a modest workspace (desk, printer, desktop computer)
2. The poet works on location, 9-5, Monday-Friday, Jan-Feb 2010
3. CityArtist covers the poet’s expenses & publication of a chapbook
4. The poet conducts regular “open hours,” offers a corporate-wide workshop & public reading
5. The poet does not propose to write about the corporation, but simply about what inspires her

Thank you for your time. I’m eager to meet you and discuss the possibilities.

Most sincerely,
A. K. “Mimi” Allin

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