Local Artists Create Original Visual, Spoken-Word Art for Week of Action

The Page Amendment team worked with Pollen Midwest, a Minneapolis-based media arts organization, to create original visual and spoken-word art inspired by the amendment. Inspired by phrases like “Minnesotans taking action” and “catalyst for change”, artist Tou Yia Xiong and poet Michael Kleber-Diggs created art for the amendment’s Week of Action. 

Xiong created this illustration as a visually communicative graphic that showcases the purpose behind the Page Amendment, showcasing the feeling and hope for the passing of this amendment. See it here: pageAm_finalDeliverable_210318. 

Kleber-Diggs shared his original poem, The Child Arrived, during the Youth Voices Panel on Monday, March 22. Kleber-Diggs is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things, won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize and will be published by Milkweed Editions in June, 2021. Michael’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and a few anthologies. Michael is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and the former Poet Laureate of Anoka County libraries. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. It has also been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Michael is married to Karen Kleber-Diggs. Karen and Michael have a daughter who is pursuing a B.F.A in Dance Performance at SUNY Purchase.

Hear Michael recite his poem in this video, or read the full poem below. 

The Child Arrived
For the Page Amendment
By Michael Kleber-Diggs

In Kittson, in Houston,
down in Rock, up in Cook,
in Todd, Lac Qui Parle,
Le Sueur or Ramsey,
in Red Lake, Yellow Medicine,
Hennepin or Sherburne,
somewhere, here. Somewhere
in Minnesota, a child arrived:
there was a pregnancy. There was labor. After labor
a delivery, at last, a delivery. All of us
arrived wet into a harsh light, awash
in possibilities, cradled in careful hands
while the cord was cut, all of us
scrubbed clean and swaddled –
tightly but softly – set close down
atop a warm cadence we’ve always known,
will always know. Arrived.

About this new child nothing else is known
or need be known. Somewhere:
in Pipestone or Goodhue,
in Clay or Freeborn
anywhere here, a child
arrived and we –
we get to dream with them.
All of them, not just one of them, because,
from where we sit we cannot know the child
by name or county, their city or neighborhood.
We can’t see hair or skin or kin –
no parent or parents. We can’t see where
those parents were born or
when they arrived here,
who they love or
whether they worship or how.
We cannot see the child’s house –
its conditions or cupboards.

Though it seems worthwhile to imagine
a modest home, a child who needs us
to dream with them, and needs
our labors too.
We can only imagine the child,
but some general things we will know.
In the course of every child’s life there will be
some things we would not change, some things
we would but can’t, some things
we would and can. Let’s dream there.
Let’s make change there.
What shall we dream with this child?
How about a chance, a good chance,
the same chance. Let’s build a place
for the child, for every child –
a building with teachers and classmates,
with lessons for learning,
with blackboards and buses – good bricks, good books.
Room to explore, room to get it wrong,
rooms within which each child can learn

how best they learn, every abundance
in every building; every blessing available
to every child in equal measure, children
who will walk through the doors and know
how earnest our dreams are
for them, how sincere.
To this child we imagine together,
to our child, to our children,
may they know how we want for them –
for their minds to be nourished;
for their bodies nourished.
Ample space for them to learn and grow, safe
Space where each of them can close their eyes
and dream with us.
Whatever they desire, like a chance
a good chance, and, from there,
everything possible.