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All Aboard! “BeltLine Chronicles” Poet ‘George’ Goes on Poetic Journey on the Eastside Beltline

As part of MODA’s Jane’s Walk series, join Villa Albertine & author Dr. Robert F. Barsky on a 1-mile walk along the Eastside Beltline to explore the histories and works of art associated with this area of Atlanta through the words and characters of the epic poem “The BeltLine Chronicles.”

The BeltLine Chronicles” is a 68-page poem honoring the living history of spaces along the Atlanta BeltLine. The poem draws inspiration from Lord Byron’s epic adventure poem “Don Juan,” and invokes a broad array of famous literary quests, from Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Dante the Pilgrim’s “Divine Comedy” all the way up to Blaise Cendrars “Trans-Siberian”, Toni Morrison’s Paradise and Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte.

“The BeltLine Chronicles” remind the reader/viewer of the many borders that we cross as we move through the BeltLine spaces and the great efforts that have been made by Ryan Gravel and the multitude of funders, visionaries, and developers who are bringing this dream to life. As we prepare to welcome light rail to the EastSide BeltLine, we will recall great epic journeys from the past, including Blaise Cendrars memorable trans-Siberian poem.

The narrator of “the BeltLine Chronicles” is an enthusiastic and sweet poet named after George Gordon, Lord Byron. He invokes histories associated with BeltLine spaces and takes note of the people he sees along his journey. He also describes existing art installations, performances by BeltLine artists (both formal and informal), and emotions stirred by the amazing BeltLine environment. Along the way, George calls attention to issues of social justice and historical memory, while advocating for a more just future inspired by the ambitions associated with Atlanta’s “emerald necklace.” To that end, George recalls inspiring writings and utterances by the likes of Frederick Law Olmsted, W.E.B. DuBois, Ella Josephine Baker, Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, John Lewis, Shirley Franklin, and Stacey Abrams, who have envisioned a better future for Atlanta, America, and the world.

The guided walk will be led by Robert Barsky in English and French. The meetup point will be at the entrance to the Beltline at the corner of 10th & Monroe. The route will go until the Kroger on the Eastside Beltline; this is approximately one mile and will take 60 minutes to complete. The entire walk is paved and is wheelchair accessible.

Dr. Robert F. Barsky is a Guggenheim Fellow and Professor at Vanderbilt University, working at the intersection of language studies, literature and law, with applications to border crossings, language theory, radical American milieus, and literatures of the 19th and 20th centuries in English and French. He is the author or editor of numerous books on narrative and law, most recently Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us about People Fleeing from Persecution (2021).

Barsky is also the author of “The BeltLine Chronicles” — a project for Art on the BeltLine. His poem, which is posted at 4 locations on the BeltLine, aims to promote civic engagement.

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