Engaging the Senses Foundation (ETSF) works with literary organizations, art councils, universities, and other cultural institutions and non-profits in the belief that engaging the senses and awakening mindfulness through the arts can help to educate and enrich society as a whole. Ongoing and historical initiatives have included:

Poetry & the Senses

A completed, historical partnership with UC Berkeley’s Arts Research Center (ARC) entitled Poetry and the Senses brought together faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and community poets to create meaningful opportunities for education on the connection between poetic expression and the value of engaging the senses as an act of care, mindfulness, and awareness.

In this capacity, ARC served as the facilitator and connector between the campus and flourishing regional poetry communities, creating opportunities for Poetry and the Senses fellows and local and visiting poets to engage in public presentations and readings both in person and online; visiting writer workshops; the creation of chapbooks related to each year’s theme; and community poetry events and festivals.

Each year’s program began with a focus on a concept which is researched and expressed through the universal language of poetry — emergency, co-existence and reclamation were timely major themes — which then created a broad ripple effect into the community.

The 2023 expansion of the model explored poetry and language in a wider framework by creating a trans-Indigenous conversation, with juxtapositions that began to translate an oceanic-to-desert-to-river-to-forest poetic imaginary.

Lost & Found

A long-term and ongoing partnership which focuses on reclaiming lost poetry and poets of note whose work has faded from public consciousness back into today’s active poetry scene and discourse, ETSF helps supports projects by Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative of The City University of New York Graduate Center. Lost & Found publishes unexpected, genre-bending works by important 20th century writers, which are unearthed from personal and institutional archives in the United States and abroad, edited by doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center and published by the Center for the Humanities.

Gathering of California Poets Laureate

A day-long gathering of California regional and state poets laureate in October of 2018 sponsored by ETSF in partnership with the California Arts Council and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs/McGroarty Arts Center, which was conceived by then California State Poet Laureate Dana Gioia.

In addition to readings that were open to the public, the poets shared best practices and lessons in intensive breakout sessions during which they explored educational endeavors past and future as representatives of literacy appointed by their cities, counties, regions, and the state.

ETSF has created a portal to all the readings from event, accessible by place representation,  poet names, and the categorical themes of the poets’ works, including Family, Education, Immigration, Mindfulness, and Ethnicity.