A Record Crowd Came to Hear Nine Poets Whose Portraits Are on Display in the South End Library's Windows and Who Described Their Unique View of Contemporary Life With Mesmerizing Performances of Poems and HipHop

John Pinkham

Last month's LocalFocus installation in the South End library's windows of Gregory Jundanian's Poet Portraits brought in a large crowd on October 6, when the poets featured in the display treated the audience to their exciting, sometimes raw, but always original take on contemporary culture. Jundanian,  an emerging artist and frequenter of Boston area poetry slams, described his photography series as a "visual open mike" where poets transcribe words on the photographs taken in places that were of significance to them.

Greg Jundanian's Poet Portraits installation in the SE library's window

Jundanian introduced each poet by pointing to their pictures pinned up on the community room wall, and encouraged the audience to attend poetry events by saying how much fun the slams were. He singled out the "house slams" at Haley House Cafe in Dudley Square every other Friday as a place "where people bare their souls" about sexuality, abuse, poverty, race, and mental illness. "The poetry, good and bad, is accepted and supported," he added.

Krysten Hill

Before he turned to photography, Jundanian was a cab driver, a bonds salesman, firefighter and glassblower. He is currently founder and president of Three Squares New England, an organization raises funds to combat hunger in Massachusetts.

Lakiyra (Oompa) Williams

Among those reading were DiDi Delgado, currently a host of the SOUPed Up Poetry Slam at the Dudley Cafe and recipient of the 2015 Jack Powers Stone Soup Savor award. She was joined by  Krysten Hill, who is a recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist award; Valerie Loveland, Lakiyra (Oompa) Williams, a Roxbury hip-hop artist and member of Flatline Poetry; April Penn, John Pinkham, Salem poet Oliver Prato, Allegra Thaler, and Tim Velsor.

Oliver Prato

Jundanian's photo exhibit, which will end this week, is the fifth in the South End library's Local Focus series which connects local artists, creative entrepreneurs and non-profits to the South End community by means of window installations. Jundanian's photos are available for sale; a portion of the proceeds will be used for the library's programming.