Agustina Woodgate Brings Poetry to a Thrift Store Near You

Carmen’s Team Pick:

There’s just something about a girl who makes art.

Agustina Woodgate is an artist born and trained in Argentina and transplanted in Miami. Her work encompasses a variety of mediums and styles, but focuses on interaction. Woodgate wants people to interact — with each other, and with her art. She wants a communal response. She wants something more than you standing in a museum and gaping at a large painting or one of her exhibitions. Agustina Woodgate wants to interact with you. Are you nervous yet?

Woodgate was recently highlighted on the series O, MIAMI for her latest project: Poetry Tags. The project entails Woodgate sneaking around Miami thrift stores to sew new labels in the clothing inside. But this isn’t just a clothing label. It’s Agustina Woodgate’s Special Poetry Label That Says:

Life is a huge dream
why work so hard?

-Li Po

Her O, MIAMI segment reveals not only her strategy but her accent:

Woodgate’s Poetry Tags project is about memories, and the little pieces of ourselves we store in our clothing. (I remember each moment in my lace-up leather boots so vividly that she need not elaborate on what she means.) Woodgate wanted to highlight that relationship. Woodgate’s art focuses on interaction because she believes interactions are art. Get it?

But this project also focuses specifically on how clothing can be a medium to bring poetry into our lives if we bring the two together. She describes it better in her own words:

Sewing poems in clothes is a way of bringing poetry to everyday life just by displacing it, by removing it from a paper to integrate it and fuse it with our lives. Sometimes little details are stronger when they are separated from where they are expected to be.

Woodgate’s art is strong because it’s not where you expect it to be.

Oh My God I love few things more than poetry, or clothes, or thrift stores, or Agustina Woodgate.

I’m sharing this with you even though the line of poetry Woodgate uses isn’t from an Eileen Myles poem, or even from an anthology she edited, and I don’t live in Miami, and Agustina Woodgate makes tons of art and has tons of projects and this is just one of them.

I’m sharing this with you because being able to touch, and relate to, and be a part of art, is a beautiful experience. I’m sharing this with you because I find it really, really incredible when artists don’t think of their work as something to gawk at and be in awe of, but something to feel connected to and comfortable around.

But mostly, I’m sharing this with you because there really is something about a girl who makes art, and it’s kind of like poetry and the perfect shirt.


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Carmen

Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 920 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. This is lovely, thank you!
    I’m home for the summer and busy exploring all the thrift stores near me to see what I can buy despite current joblessness. If I found clothing with poetry tags inside, I’d probably swoon from excitement.

    • I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time, except I only thought of tagging poetry (with spray cans and stuff). I don’t think it would be stealing to use her idea, also, there are probably hundreds of unthought of, but common, spaces to put poetry. So if you don’t want to steal her idea, you could maybe leave poems on napkins on tables in coffee shops, or stick them in bus schedules when you get on the bus, or cut them into quarter shapes and stick them in piggy banks at stores. I have a friend who, for a while, would cut things from newspapers and make collages with the scrapps and sauce left over from her food on her plates before she put them on the tray for washing in our school cafeteria.

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