2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in Storytelling
The Telepoem Booth is a 1970s vintage telephone booth in which the public is invited to locate a verse listing in the Telepoem Book, “dial-a-poem” for free on the rotary phone, and listen to over 300 local, national and international poems located in the directory. The Flagstaff Telepoem Booth is currently located at 120 N. Leroux St. in Old Town Shops, Flagstaff, Arizona. It debuted in Flagstaff on March 25, 2016.
The poets included in the project are local, regional and international authors. Hellstern included Jane Ellen Armstrong’s micro-essays, the Viola Award-winning work that comprised Aphasia: Neurological Disorder in Text and Image. Others poets include Tony Norris and James Jay as well as Hellstern’s own poetry.
The booth itself is a self-contained unit; the old school “pulse technology” of dialing a rotary phone is translated through a cutting edge computer to access the mp3 files of poetry. For future booths, there will be a wi-fi enabled downloading system, which will allow new poetry updates from a central location for all Telepoem Booths in the nation, providing convenience and ease for the clients and a constantly fresh supply of new poetry.
The first Telepoem Booth premiered in Mesa, AZ at the Spark! Festival of Creativity at the Mesa Arts Center, March 18-19, 2016. Another is being placed in State College, PA (home of Penn State) in Spring, 2017.
“For me, the Telepoem Booth is an intermediary space between word and art, touch and hearing, the present and the past.” ~Elizabeth Hellstern