What is a Pecha Kucha? Created by American architects living in Japan, Pecha Kucha is a presentation style in which the speaker is given a limited amount of time to convey his or her message in a creative way.
I went outside my comfort zone to deliver a three-minute Pecha Kucha at the opening of a Grantmakers for Education conference here in New Orleans. I wanted to write a mood-setter, something closer to poetry than to prose. But even though I love poetry, I have no skill for writing it.
Titled Up From the Depths: A Prose Poem for Education, the production of this hybrid Pecha Kucha was a team effort. I wrote the text, drawing a parallel between New Orleans’s recovery from the devastation of the waters of Katrina and the renewal of the city’s education system. Local documentary and film company Tungsten Monkey artfully mixed the scenes of water with the schoolchildren at Kingsley House. Janet Daley did the beautiful voice-over you hear on this web version. The poem excerpt I recite near the end of the piece is titled "Morning Swim" and was written by Maxine Kumin. Martha Landrum, Vice President for Communications at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, helped shape the piece you see below.