A Poetic Celebration

Kent State Dedicates Wick Poetry Center’s New Home

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For 30 years, Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center has been encouraging new voices – locally, regionally and nationally – and bringing poetry to people’s everyday lives through readings, publications, workshops and scholarships. Now, the Wick Poetry Center, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, begins a new era by relocating from Satterfield Hall to the Lefton Esplanade.

A dedication ceremony was held Sept. 26 at the center’s new location on the Lefton Esplanade. The dedication included remarks from Kent State President Beverly Warren and others, a dedication poem read by young poets in the Wick Juniors program and a ribbon cutting. There also was an open house for people to tour the building and grounds. The dedication events were free and open to the public.

The new home of the Wick Poetry Center is the historic former residence of one of Kent State’s first faculty members, May Prentice. Prentice was on the faculty of Kent State from 1912 to 1930 and taught English, history of education and school management. She lived in the house on Willow Street until her death in 1935. The university preserved the 112-year-old house, moving it from its original location on Willow Street to its new location on the Lefton Esplanade. 

Growing Needs

Given the Wick Poetry Center’s growing popularity and community impact, the center was in need of larger and more flexible space for its programming. The new center includes a digital community classroom and versatile meeting space for various public functions, the Hometown Bank Foyer, the Jo Woodward Reading Room, the Stan and Tom Wick Library, the Maggie Anderson Director’s Office and other named spaces.

Although the house retained its historic look, it underwent renovation to convert it to an academic structure and to meet current building codes.

Accessible Location

“Relocating the center to the Lefton Esplanade allows us to be more accessible to the Kent community, and offers us a plethora of opportunities for expanded programming,” said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State.

“Both the esplanade and the Wick Poetry Center serve as bridges that connect the Kent State campus and the community, and we are excited at the opportunity to serve and engage a larger audience.”

-David Hassler
Director of the Wick Poetry Center

An Interactive Poetry Park

Another exciting feature of the Wick Poetry Center’s relocation is an adjacent interactive Poetry Park featuring trees provided by the Davey Tree Expert Company and the Joan and Ron Burbick Outdoor Gallery, a showcase of the award-winning Traveling Stanzas™ poetry posters designed by Kent State’s graphic design students. Using the newly designed Wick Poetry Center mobile application, www.wickapp.com, visitors can digitally interact with the poetry posters through audio, video and animation.

The Poetry Park is also a gathering space for quiet reflection or public events and performances in the Professor Edwin S. Gould Amphitheatre, donated by Carol W. Gould. The Poetry Park also features the Klaben Family Pathways, and Albert and Rosaline Klaben Gateway as well as “Seated Earth, 2014,” a 12-foot bronze sculpture designed and donated by Kent State alumnus, former art faculty member and Wick Poetry Center co-founder Robert Wick

Download the Wick Poetry mobile app

Wick Poetry Center co-founders and brothers Walter (left) and Robert Wick (right) enjoy a moment in the newly dedicated Poetry Park in front of the sculpture “Seated  Earth” that Robert created.

Generous Donors

The total budget for the relocation and renovation of the house and the creation of the Poetry Park was $1.07 million. Major donors who contributed to these projects are:

  • Kent State University College of Art and Sciences
  • The Klaben Family
  • Carol W. Gould
  • The Woodward Foundation
  • Joan and Ron Burbick
  • Hometown Bank 
  • The Dominion Foundation
  • Paul and Eileen Gaston
  • The Davey Tree Expert Company  
  • The Kent Community  
  • Dr. Judith Gold Stitzel
  • Walter and Robert Wick, and Wick Communications
  • Kent Displays

About the Wick Poetry Center

One of the leading university poetry centers in the United States and the only one with an interactive poetry park, the Wick Poetry Center is unique for its range of impactful programming, which includes education, performance, publications and outreach. The Wick Poetry Center was established in 1984 by brothers Robert and Walter Wick in memory of their sons. 

Learn more about the Wick Poetry Center and its 30th anniversary events