Reactionary: An Exploration of Poetry and Place

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Sunday July 24, 2016

2:30 pm–5 pm

Tour from 2:30 to 3pm; event begins at 3pm

Lewis H. Latimer House Museum, 34-41 137th Street, Flushing, NY 11354


REACTIONARY: An Exploration of Poetry & Place


Newtown Literary editors will facilitate a workshop and reading that explores history, motion, and place. Using the Lewis Latimer House Museum as inspiration, poetry prompts will be provided in several spaces inside the house and its garden, asking participants to respond to their surroundings. We will draw from Lewis Latimer’s life and career as well as from articles inside his home, the home’s architecture, and the encompassing neighborhood. Participants will have the opportunity to share their work, and readings by three Newtown contributors will take place as we move through the museum’s landscape, from its history to the present.


Poetic Inventions: Electricity, Enlightenment, Expression

This past Sunday,Poetic Inventions, our 3rd poetry workshop in the 2016 series, explored the intersections between poetic writing, invention and social change by taking a look at Lewis Latimer’s life and poetry. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to “invent” their own poetry and prose through a series of writing prompts inspired by Latimer’s work.

Sherese Francis reading at yesterday’s Poetic Inventions workshop under the beautiful sunlight.


Mr. Al reading #lewislatimer ‘s #poem -#friendship. @hhtnyc More poetry to happen at Latimer House throughout this year!

A video posted by Lewis Latimer House/LatimerNOW (@latimernow) on Jun 27, 2016 at 8:55am PDT

 Mr. Al reading Lewis Latimer’s poem “friendship.”


Sherese Francis is a Queens-based published poet, writer and blogger. Currently she runs the blog, Futuristically Ancient, where she writes about the arts and cultures of the African Diaspora through an afrofuturist lens. Besides her blog, Sherese is working on a few other projects, including a fantasy novel called “The E” based in Queens, a self-published chapbook, “Lucy’s Scroll-Bones,” and a longer poetry manuscript.

Robotics Summer Camp at Latimer House. 机器人艺术夏令营


Robotics+Art – A Summer of Fun Learning

The Tinker Lab @LatimerNOW is thrilled to announce that we’re offering the 2016 summer camp with activities in science and art for less than half of the price of other similar camps in New York City, to bring the best of the great man Lewis Latimer’s legacy to our community.

2PM-5PM. Session 1: Aug 8-12, Aug 15-19 / Session 2: Aug 22-26, Aug 29-Sep 2


Click here.

FOR CHILDREN OF 4-12 YEARS OLD, with 8-12 campers at each session.
Tinker sessions will include: Robotics, Pre-robotic, Bumper Cars, Light Box, Paper Helicopters, Hex Bugs, Tech Games, Sounds Art, Flashing Jewelry, etc. Take a sneak peek at our robotics activities at Catch the Cool Family Festival.

Lewis H. Latimer House Museum
34-41 137th St. Flushing, NY 11354 (map)


About our teacher:
Karioki Crosby has over 15 years of experience in teaching science and art at various institutions including L.E.A.P., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Teachers College, New York Hall of Science, KIPPNYC College Prep, the New York Historical Society, the Center for Arts Education, Healing Art Initiative, and the Morgan Library & Museum.


A Typical Half-Day Schedule: 1:30pm-2:00pm Drop Off; 2:00pm-3:15pm Robotics Activity 1; 3:15pm-3:45pm Outdoor Activities in Museum Garden; 3:45pm-5:00pm Robotics Activity 2; 5:00pm-5:30pm Pick Up

Extended Care Hours are available from 12pm-2pm (for $200/two weeks.)


3 Ways to Register:


Register online at any time here.

Walk-in during Museum Opening Hours

Bring a check or credit card to us between 12pm-5pm on Friday & Sunday.

Call-in during Museum Opening Hours 

Call us at (718) 961-8585 with your credit card information between12pm-5pm on Friday & Sunday.


Questions:, (718) 961-8585 or (607) 351-4326

 LatimerNow Tinker

机器人+艺术 – 欢乐学习的2016暑假


2PM-5PM. 第一期: 八月 8-12, 八月 15-19 / 第二期: 八月 22-26, 八月 29-九月 2

Click here.

面向 4-12 岁儿童, 每期8-12人.
课程包括: Robotics, Pre-robotic, Bumper Cars, Light Box, Paper Helicopters, Hex Bugs, Tech Games, Sounds Art, Flashing Jewelry, etc. Take a sneak peek at our robotics activities at Catch the Cool Family Festival.

Lewis H. Latimer House Museum
34-41 137th St. Flushing, NY 11354 (地图)

Karioki Crosby 拥有15年以上的相关课程教授经验,并在纽约市各机构从事教职, 包括L.E.A.P., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Teachers College, New York Hall of Science, KIPPNYC College Prep, the New York Historical Society, the Center for Arts Education, Healing Art Initiative, 及 the Morgan Library & Museum.

每日时间表: 1:30pm-2:00pm 报到; 2:00pm-3:15pm 机器人课程1; 3:15pm-3:45pm 室外花园活动; 3:45pm-5:00pm 机器人+艺术课程2; 5:00pm-5:30pm 离营

每日 12pm-2pm提供延时看护。 ($200/2周)


网路: 任意时间网上报名点击

博物馆现场报名: 请携带支票或信用卡于周五或周日12pm-5pm间现场报名。

电话报名: 请于周五或周日12pm-5pm致电(718) 961-8585告知我们您的报名课程及付费方式。


课程咨询:, (718) 961-8585 or (607) 351-4326

LatimerNow Tinker-CHN

Poems by Latimer and Fellow African Americans in 1800-1900s

Last Friday evening’s event, a book-reading by Erika DeSimone and Fidel Louis, the editors of “Voices Beyond Bondage”, a collection of 150 poems culled from burgeoning black-owned newspapers of the 19th-century, was thoroughly enjoyed by a group of poetry aficionados. The intimate atmosphere in the tinkering lab space of Lewis Latimer’s House allowed for heartfelt readings by Erica and Fidel and was followed by compassionate discussions. Participants left inspired after a lively evening of poetry, deep listening and dialogue.


Some bear their load with troubled brow;
Some wear a smiling face,
As tho’ no care within their hearts
Could find a resting place.

By Lewis H. Latimer [New York, New York]
The New York Age, September 20, 1890
Voices, p. 180


Erica DeSimone and Fidel Louis


A Captivated Audience in Lewis Latimer’s Tinkering Lab

(Photos by Ran Yan)

Voices Beyond Bondage


A book reading by Erika DeSimone and Fidel Louis, the editors of “Voices Beyond Bondage,” a collection of 150 poems culled from burgeoning black-owned newspapers of the 19th-century.

298-VBB fcover 300dpi

Friday, April 8th, 6.30 pm


In a society riddled by racial inequity, for many 19th-century African Americans poetry embodied something more than a source of inspiration, a means of education and a conduit for culture and history. Poetry became a safe haven through which they preserved and shared their ideas, cultural knowledge, and heritage.

This poetry slam event, serving all ages, will reveal a mostly unacknowledged 19th-century literary Movement and offers a fresh perspective on African American life and identity from the antebellum and postbellum periods.

The highlighted poems will be handed out and participants will be encouraged to break into groups and discuss before the editors answer questions.

Books are sold at $ 30. Seniors and students pay $ 25.


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Lunar New Year Celebrated in Flushing

By Caroline van Alphen

Chinese Lunar Parade Flushing 2016

The Flushing, Queens community celebrated Lunar New Year during a colorful parade on Saturday, February 13th. Single digit temperatures and minus zero wind chills did not stop the participants and thousands of spectators to enjoy the grand festivities and excitement at the start of The Year Of The Monkey. The many months of preparation by the Flushing Asian-American community resulted in spectacular contributions. It truly was a multi-cultural event, uniting young and old from all walks of life, regardless the freezing temperatures.


TBT unstoppable #lunarnewyear #parade despite the chilling breeze. #flushing #queens

A video posted by Lewis Latimer House/LatimerNOW (@latimernow) on Feb 21, 2016 at 12:28pm PST


There’s a certain slant of light…

Begins one of Emily Dickinson’s poems. And “When it comes, the Landscape Listens,” reads the final stanza. With Light On Sound a very different landscape than Ms. Dickinson’s original is listening up—the streets of Flushing, Queens. Listening to what—you might ask? The neighborhood, the people, the memories, and the many voices of the multicultural wealth of Flushing. Light on Sound is an interactive poetry installation that invites community members to both listen to poetry and share their own. How on earth does this all actually work, and what brings Lewis Latimer, poetry, lampposts and telephones together—you might wonder? Well, let’s break it down.

You may know that Lewis Latimer was the inventor of the carbon filament for the Incandescent lightbulb. And that he also helped draft the patent for Alexander Grahm Bell’s design of the telephone. You may not know that he was also a poet—to boot an inventor with verse, if you will. In his poetry Latimer spoke freely about his experiences as a black man in 19th century America, confronting issues of race and social justice in pieces like “Ebon Venus” and “Unconquerable” (Latimer fans you know where it’s at – #unconquerable). 150 years later his house still stands in Flushing; and while Latimer himself no longer lives there, LatimerNOW keeps his legacy of invention and community alive. Following some brilliant brainstorming, artists Jessica Houston and Maya Pindyck pieced these various elements together to create Light On Sound.

First, Maya and Jessica hosted three poetry workshops with Flushing residents of all ages and origins, who came together to talk, think, and write. The artists then recorded the workshop participants reading their original poetry in the language of their choice. Next, the New York City Department of Transportation installed plaques on numerous lampposts around Flushing. Some display poems written at the workshops while others read “Poetry Calls You” in English, Mandarin, and Spanish and display a telephone number for passers-by to call in to hear poems or to record their own. Seen one around yourself?

 Plaque Epazote HR

Visitors can also listen to the poems in the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum via two sound-sculptures by Jessica and Maya. Simply flick the switch, and voila! Poems spring through the air or into your headphones while the bulb shines brightly.

LOS listen

Being such an immersive and inclusive installation, Light On Sound demanded an equally special opening reception. Thus, the Poetry Celebration was born! From 6-9pm on Thursday August 13th, Residents and community members gathered to read poems and to listen—and naturally to eat some delicious dumplings on the side. In order to make sure members of the deaf community could also participate in the celebration, CART (computer-aided real time transcription) services and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters were provided. In addition to community residents, local Queens poet Maria Terrone and former Queens Poet Laureate Paolo Javier joined the reading.

 Sherese Francis Reading HRpaolo

And Douglas Ridloff—deaf poet, performer, and Artistic Director of ASL Slam—transfixed us all with two beautiful sign poems—expanding our perceptions of poetry and the act of listening. After a wonderful evening, we all set home inspired to keep the verses coming.


And we want YOU to join in! Dial 646-604-4671 to listen to a selection of 20 poems or to record your own. The Artists will be periodically rotating the poems as more are submitted to the growing archive.

Light on Sound is presented by the Historic House Trust’s Contemporary Art Partnerships program with the Lewis H. Latimer House and LatimerNOW. The installation was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts with generous support coming from NYCDOT, NYCParks, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Light On Sound runs from August through to October 2015.

About the artists:

Jessica Houston explores questions of perception through the prism of art, architecture and nature. Her site-specific installations, videos, drawings and paintings often use the phenomena of color, light, and sound to respond to and alter existing architectural spaces. She has created site-specific works for the New Jersey MOCA, Asbury Park, New Jersey; the Castello di Corigliano, Puglia, Italy; Governors Island, NY, NY and The Albany Airport, Albany, NY.

Maya Pindyck engages the material of language, affect, and social space through a practice that includes writing, drawing, installation, and research. She is the author of the poetry collections Emoticoncert (Four Way Books, forthcoming), Friend Among Stones (New Rivers Press), and Locket, Master (Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship Series).

“Unconquered And Unconquerable”

As a scientific inventor and also a talented poet, Lewis Latimer wrote poems throughout his life. In his late years, his family published his poetry collection “Poems of Love and Life.” Among this collection is an unforgettable poem, “Unconquered and Unconquerable.”

Unconquerable Poem

One of our Tinkering Lab projects in 2015 is the collaborative “Unconquerable” Poetry Banner. For this project, kids from the neighborhood composed mosaic letters using decorative elements. Together, the letters form the poem “Unconquered and Unconquerable.”


After about two months of teamwork, the banners were coated and hung up outside the Latimer House to further intrigue and engage the surrounding community.


By Ran Yan

Light Invention Workshop May 29

By Cynthia Chen


Lewis Latimer worked with Hiram Maxim on a light bulb that was an improvement on Thomas Edison’s light bulb. The filament that Latimer devised had a protective carbon casing, making their light bulb last longer and therefore cheaper. To celebrate the impact this improvement made our ability to use electric light today, we had a workshop for inventing new lighting devices.


Students were asked to invent a new lighting device or improve upon an existing one. They were asked to think about materials used in construction, how it gets power, and where or how it is used. We had a share out at the end of the sessions. Many of the inventions included devices that change color according to one’s mood. One student’s design was called the Rolling Mood Light, which is made with a rubber translucent casing, and the center holds a color changing light that receives the person’s mood through a voice recorder. The Rolling Mood Light can be thrown to help a person’s mood by adding a physical movement to the light.

A rolling lighting device that "help people with emotional problems." #LatimerNOW #TinkeringLab

A video posted by Lewis Latimer House/LatimerNOW (@latimernow) on

“I live here” at Lewis H Latimer House Museum

The “I Live Here” project will be at home this Summer at the Lewis H Latimer House Museum in Flushing, Queens.

As many of us know, Lewis Latimer was an African American scientist and inventor, who lived from 1848-1928.  He played an instrumental role in creating the modern light bulb and the telephone.  In addition to being an expert draftsman and pioneering inventor, he was deeply involved in his local community in Flushing.

He learned languages too.  When he spent time in Montreal to oversee the installation of an electric lighting system he learned French so that he could better train the local workers.

What better place to host the “I Live Here” project?  Over the Summer, expect events celebrating the linguistic diversity of Queens, audio activities, and the creation of a banner for the fence around the house saying “I live here” in languages spoken in the borough.


The kids of Annabel Short, Founder of “I Live Here”, enjoying our Tinkering Lab



Ryan Hartley Smith (r), graphic design Professor at Queens College, and Bryan Ramirez (l), graphic design student. Bryan will be interning on the I Live Here project at the house over the Summer.



Designs for the “I live here” banner, created by Queens College students.


Find out more about how these designs were created.

And more on LatimerNOW: @LatimerNow / #MuseumAnarchy


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