Dictionary of Negative Space
Friday, May 17, 2019 - 6:30pm
Newton Cemetery Chapel

Join Artist in Residence Karen Krolak in the Newton Cemetery Chapel as she discusses, digresses and reads from her Dictionary of Negative Space. Find out some of the new entries she has discovered during her residency at the Newton Cemetery & Arboretum. Inspired by a car accident that killed her mother, father, and older brother in 2012, the Dictionary of Negative Space, examines the lacy spaces within the English language, the vast chasms of unnamed ideas related to mourning, trauma, and repair. Do not despair. This is not the dusty dictionary of your youth. 

Readers have raved:

"I love the format of the dictionary. I love that it is so inclusive of the experiences of so many people. I love that it is an evolving work, covering so much more than words. It is a heroic undertaking." - Joan

"Generous and familiar and devastating and seemingly finite but actually a web of never ending connections and circles (like grief itself)." – Jean Ann

What does it mean to be an Artist in Residence in a cemetery?

While some artists might immerse themselves in a project painting the bucolic grounds of this garden style cemetery, during her time as Artist in Residence at the Newton Cemetery & Arboretum, Karen Krolak will be researching ideas to include in her ongoing project the Dictionary of Negative Space and developing a walking tour that connects elements in the cemetery landscape to entries in her dictionary. The dictionary is an interdisciplinary lament for the words that English lacks regarding the process of lamenting. Krolak hopes to interview cemetery staff, plot owners and anyone else who spends time on the grounds. If you are interested in being interviewed, please email

Karen Krolak is a curator of experiences and a free range collaborator based in Boston. Since 2000, she has been the co-founder/Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse, an award winning nonprofit that connects communities with choreography. Much of her recent work has centered around the theme of finding physical poetry in imperfect bodies and around mourning, as she grapples with the car accident that killed her mother, father, and brother. She earned her B.A. in Linguistics at Northwestern University and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Sierra Nevada College.

This talk is free and open to all, however donations to the Friends of Newton Cemetery are welcome and support programs like this. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Newton Cultural Council which is supported by the City of Newton and the Mass Cultural Council.
Mass Cultural Council