St. Louis poet crafts work focusing on Delmar Divide


Jordan Palmer

Inscribed upon the Statue of Liberty are the words of Jewish poet Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Lazarus wrote the words as part of her poem, “The New Colussus,” a fact that is not a part of the American lexicon, as much as the actual words. It could be argued that these words are the most famous poem in American history, thus establishing a link between Jewish poets and America.

I bring up this point only to further accentuate the importance of Jewish poems even today, and as much as poetry is perhaps a forgotten art form, it is very much alive as much as we allow it.

This weekend, Arts & Faith St. Louis, a collaboration of St. Louis arts and faith leaders, announced it has commissioned an original poem and dance to be performed November 20-21, 2021, at The Marcelle, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, St. Louis, MO 63103. Performance times are 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm on November 20 and 4 pm and 6 pm on November 21. Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased through MetroTix.


Young poet Rachel Aaliyah Jackson’s poem “÷” (“Division”) examines the literal and figurative divides of race and class as symbolized by the Delmar divide. As a native St. Louisan, she states that she has grown up witnessing segregation and the poem is a call to embrace differences. Jackson is a student at Webster University majoring in Music and Audio Engineering. The recent graduate of Metro High School was a finalist in the Teen Talent Competition, held each year at the Fox Theatre. “I want people to hear my voice not just as a black woman, but as a daughter, a mental health advocate, a leader, and poet,” says Jackson.

The dance was created by Arica Brown in collaboration with dancers Cyrus Coble, Nadani Dixon, Coralie-Michele Francois, Kevin Lee, Carly Lucas, Ana Niskhioka, Izzy Perry, Josephine Starr, Jazzmon Thomas and Kaitlyn Whiteman.

It is presented by Consuming Kinetics Dance Company as part of a performance called “[R]evolution.” The all-new concert explores challenges faced in society today, using movement and performance to generate dialogue and action.

The Arts & Faith St. Louis commission is made possible by an anonymous donor.

About Consuming Kinetics Dance Company

CKDC is an arts community that reflects the diverse identities of the residents of St. Louis and its surrounding region. We demonstrate and practice a commitment to racial and cultural equity through the dance styles we offer, by fusing different dance styles into our works, and by centering diversity in hiring teaching artists and company members.

About Arts & Faith St. Louis

In September 2011 on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, leaders of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries, and Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis reached out to many faiths and organized an Interfaith Concert to promote a more harmonious community. The concert became an annual event with themes promoting peace, racial equity and inclusion, encouragement to young people, welcoming the stranger, hope, and compassion.

Arts & Faith St. Louis continues to engage in many collaborations involving music, the visual arts, storytelling, poetry and dance.

For more information, visit our website and follow us on social media.