Planetary Poems

The 67-foot 250-seat 8K Frost Planetarium carries on our longstanding tradition of being a gathering place for the community, and is one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world. Programming currently includes the latest pre-rendered shows as well as spectacular laser light shows, and we are working on new exciting programs that we hope to offer soon. Planetarium goers witness what the night sky looks like, and learn not only about planets, stars and galaxies, but also about other fields of science, such as marine biology and neuroscience, that greatly benefit from an immersive environment.

Immersive environments are on the rise, and it is Frost Planetarium’s goal to find meaningful and efficient avenues to open the doors of its dome, as we have always done, to our community. The space should be available not only to scientists, science educators and science students, but also to musicians and artists to help them develop their own ideas in partnership with Frost Science, while contributing to their careers, and the furthering of the planetarium as a wondrous medium and a bridge between the sciences and the arts. “Planetary Poems” is an example of this, as I had been willing to partner with O, Miami for a while.

“Planetary Poems” is a joint project between O, Miami Poetry Festival, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center to create original poem animations to be shown inside of Frost Science’s state-of-the-art planetarium.

Picture by Charlotte Kesl for O, Miami

Each animation brings to life an excerpt of a poem by Tracy K. Smith, the 2018 Poet Laureate of the United States and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. The poems used for Planetary Poems are from Life on Mars (Penguin, 2012), a collection inspired by her relationship with her late father, an engineer who worked on the creation of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Between April 16 and May 18, to celebrate the 2018 O, Miami Poetry Festival—a month-long initiative with the mission of every single person in Miami-Dade County encountering a poem—a series of poems from Tracy K. Smith were serendipitously drawn as wondrous constellations onto Frost Planetarium’s night sky as people walk in before the beginning of each show.

New recordings of Smith reading the poems were unveiled during the project launch on Thursday, April 12. The event, which I hosted on behalf of Frost Science, included also a panel discussion among Scott Cunningham from O, Miami, Brian Anderson from Topos Graphics, and Rob Casper, Head of the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center.


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