Eclipse Poetry: The Convergence of Science and Art

Visitors flock to Wick Poetry Center to express their feelings about the phenomenon

An event like the total solar eclipse observed in Kent on April 8 can help to shake up our lives from the mundane.

Poetry can work in the same way, said Chris Wick, son of Walt Wick, one of the founders of Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center. Chris Wick was at the poetry center Monday and took part in eclipse activities, including an eclipse-inspired interactive poem, “Shared Sky.”

The Wick Poetry Center, home to the Poets for Science project, offered visitors the chance to express their feelings of awe and wonderment on the eclipse as part of an interactive poetry project titled “Shared Sky” that lives online at the Poets for Science website.

Chris Wick was one of numerous visitors to the poetry center on April 8, including Kent State students, families with young children and out-of-state visitors who came to Kent to experience the eclipse.

Families were among the many visitors to the Wick Poetry Center for the total solar eclipse.

Mercury Foster, a first-year English major, said the poetry project made her think about the darkness.

“I was thinking about the fact that we are thrown into darkness all together, and it reminded me of other times when people are thrown into darkness all at once,” Foster said.

Add your stanza to the poetry project. 

In addition to the online poem, the Wick Poetry Center distributed postcards on which participants could write a stanza about the eclipse and include a drawing or other artwork. The postcards will then be uploaded onto the site, which will become a gallery of poetry and art submissions.

David Hassler, the Bob and Walt Wick Executive Director of the Wick Poetry Center, said many people across the path of totality took the time to submit a stanza and pin their locations on the interactive map.

The interactive website also offers visitors the chance to read about the science and history of eclipses and then create an online Emerge Erasure Poem from scientific articles and historical texts. The poetry method allows the creator to click on words within the text, which then are highlighted and formed into a new verse.  

In November 2023, Chris Wick, on behalf of his family, presented the center with a $1 million donation creating an endowed position for the executive director of the Wick Poetry Center. In total, the Wick family has given more than $3.5 million to Kent State. 

POSTED: Tuesday, April 9, 2024 02:46 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2024 04:37 PM
Lisa Abraham and Francesca Malinky
Francesca Malinky