Late Tuesday morning, Independence Mall and Market Street bustled with the usual activity of tour groups and families gazing at historic landmarks. Behind the glass in the National Museum of American Jewish History café, novice and seasoned performance poets animated their words on a "stage" of cleared tables to the surprise and delight of customers grabbing coffee and NMAJH staff passing through. 

The pop-up poetry event was the first start of a community-based relationship between Temple University and the NMAJH. Temple professor Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon and students from her class on poetic ethnography joined museum's community relations liaison, Rob Levin, to perform original pieces revolving around identity, personal history, society and the pop-up's theme, "Chasing Dreams," the museum's current special exhibit on baseball and becoming American.

To Neha Sharma, a student at Temple University, pop-up poetry is another kind of craft, full of opportunity. "It gives you the ability to manipulate whatever you're talking about in the moment," Sharma explained. 

Andrew Katz, another Temple University student, agreed that pop-up poetry isn't the same as established events. "It's cool because you're going to possibly get an audience that would not necessarily be at that event," Katz explained. "If you catch them off guard you have a better chance because they don't have time to make that preconceived," Katz pulled a skeptical face to show how most people feel about his next word—"poetry."  

"Poetry is always welcome here," Levin exclaimed at the end of the event in the museum's cafe on the publicly-accessible first floor. "Look for more pop-up events at the National Museum of American Jewish History Museum, hopefully involving more poetry and hopefully involving you."

Main Topic: 
Plain Text Author: