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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo The multimedia piece that Carolyn Guinzio will show on Thursday will feature the voices of so many Northwest Arkansas residents, she was afraid her software was going to crash as she put the project together. "While I was layering these voices, the crows' voices were outside," she says. "It was kind of like pressing a wildflower in the pages of a book, to preserve them."

Poet Carolyn Guinzio was so taken with a family of crows that live near her home in Fayetteville, she dedicated her fifth book of poetry, "Ozark Crows," to the subject. The collection includes 70 poems written from a bird's eye view. A multimedia event in honor of the release will be held Thursday at Stage 18.

"I've been watching and interacting with [the crows] for years, thinking about them, imagining what they're saying," says Guinzio, whose photography of the birds is also featured in the collection. "These are short poems that are in shapes that appear to be written across the sky, appearing to come from the mouths of the crows."


‘Ozark Crows’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Thursday

WHERE — Stage Eighteen, 18 E. Center, Fayetteville

COST — Free


Guinzio says her close observation of -- and occasional interactions with -- the birds might sometimes have been reciprocal.

"There was an incident where we put out a stale cake and some old cornbread in the yard, and the crows came and took it all away," she says. "When I went out afterwards, there was a little piece of glass." Crows are notoriously intelligent, social birds and are known to sometimes bring gifts in return for food. "I don't know if it was so they could remember where they found the food -- because it might glint in the sun and they could see it from the sky -- or if it was a gift. But that was kind of the beginning of a relationship. I've been through many generations since then."

Guinzio has created a unique way of celebrating the publication of "Ozark Crows." Normally, she would host a reading of selected poetry from the book, but the visual way these poems are portrayed on the page makes it difficult for a traditional poetry reading. Instead, she created a "micro-movie" for each poem and solicited recordings of voices from the community that she uses in the movie.

"I wanted represented the idea of a community, geographically connected, gathering for this final piece which is called 'The Funeral,'" she says. "I layered all of these files into the piece, and it was a wonderful experience that was enormously complicated. The result includes visuals that my son shot with a drone that are really gorgeous. I'm really happy with it -- it makes me feel grateful for the openness of the people who live here."

Lara Jo Hightower can be reached at

NAN What's Up on 03/23/2018

Print Headline: Guinzio's Poetry Is For The Birds -- Literally

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