Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center Connects Readers to Rare Books at the Library of Congress

The Wick Poetry Center is thrilled to announce its collaboration with the Library of Congress, which will feature the Traveling Stanzas exhibit at the 18th Library of Congress National Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Washington Convention Center.


The interactive exhibit includes both analog and digital engagement tools that invite guests to create poetry using the library’s rare book manuscripts, including Abraham Lincoln’s draft of a bill abolishing slavery from 1849 and Thomas Jefferson’s 1803 instructions to Meriwether Lewis for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Once guests create their poems based on these rare texts, they can share the poems digitally, on video or even on a postcard that can be printed at the exhibit.


Notable participants of the festival include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and celebrated authors Isabel Allende, Stephen King, Annie Proulx, Celeste Ng and current U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.


“I feel lucky to work with the Wick Poetry Center on a Traveling Stanzas interactive poetry experience at the National Book Festival,” said Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. “What a fun and meaningful way to connect festival attendees to primary source texts, curated from the library’s Manuscripts and Rare Books and Special Collections divisions. Poetry has the power to help us understand so much, as Traveling Stanzas reminds us.”


The Traveling Stanzas project, now in its 10th year, began as a collaboration between Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center and students who are led by Valora Renicker, associate professor in Kent State’s School of Visual Communication Design. It has evolved into a leading international poetry exhibit pioneering state-of-the-art digital tools. With Traveling Stanzas, the Wick Poetry Center is at the forefront of a national movement to pair technology with art as a means to increase access to creative expression, encouraging new voices in poetry and facilitating meaningful conversations in communities around the world.


Visitors to the National Book Festival can experience the exhibit on the Expo Floor.


For more information about Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas, visit


For more information about the exhibit, visit

POSTED: Friday, August 24, 2018 10:34 AM
UPDATED: Saturday, May 18, 2024 06:30 AM