If you go
* What: “Through the Grey,” art poetry by Genesis the Greykid.
* When: 7-9 p.m. today, Dec. 1.
* Where: Church on Main, 1601 Rossville Ave
* Phone: 757-553-6390.
* Website: ThroughtheGrey.com.
For Genesis the Greykid, poems are much more than just words on paper. In fact, for his latest project, they aren't even that. They are words painted in oil on cotton canvases, so not only are the poems themselves art, the vessel itself is a one-of-a-kind piece.
Genesis will present "Through the Grey," a collection of 12 fine art poems, from 7 to 9 tonight, Dec. 1, at the Church on Main. He says he anticipates patrons from Hawaii to New York at the event, which he describes as not only unusual for Chattanooga but anywhere in the world.
"There have not been but a handful of these types of fine art poems shows," Genesis says. "There was one recently in Paris."
In fact, he was asked about doing this show elsewhere, but he insisted it take place in his hometown.
"It had to be in this city," he says. "Chattanooga has shown me a lot of love."
Some of the works were inspired by the things he's seen and experienced while here, but some came from a cross-country trip he took several weeks ago.
"I traveled 5,800 miles by foot or by train, visiting places like Skid Row [in Los Angeles]," he says.
During this trip, he would ask random people what they felt the secret to happiness was.
"I must've spoken to almost 500 people on my travels, all giving their little jewels of truth," he says. "After reflecting over all that was said, I saw a common thread: Doing what you love, following your intuition, and conquering fears.
A proficient walker, Genesis says he draws inspiration from the people he meets during his visits to places like Miller Park, the city's west side neighborhoods and the poetry workshops he leads or participates in.
Genesis says this show is just the next step in his desire to explore and push the boundaries of poetry.
He released "Words in Grey," a collection of his works in book form, last year.
"The idea is to push," he says. "Poetry is in my bones. I'm trying to create these load-bearing walls to hold this whole thing up. Everything is possible."
The canvas pieces range in size from 3 by 4 feet to 4 by 5 feet. Anyone interested in seeing the works or speaking to Genesis before the showing can stop by between 5 and 7 tonight.
One painting, titled "Somethings, Should Go Unsaid," features a collection of windows, with these words, in very small text: "There are no words — sometimes."
Genesis describes it this way on his website:
"This poetic expression came after I spent the entire day merging different feelings together. Different 'windows' I felt in this moment, I was looking through. Windows feed me.
"Billy Collins actually says it best: 'By now, it should go without saying that what the oven is to the baker and the berry-stained blouse to the dry cleaner, so the window is to the poet.'
"So after I stood back from this painting... and thought awhile, I knew the best thing to say would be the physical action of saying nothing at all."
Genesis says he did not set out to create the pieces with a theme in mind, but upon further reflection about what links them together, he offers this: "The skeleton of every good poem is truth. Bearing it all. Honesty is the key."
Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.