The May Prentice House and the Poetry Park

The May Prentice House

The May Prentice House, originally located at 128 S. Willow Street, was the home of May H. Prentice, among the first faculty members of Kent State Normal School. Prentice began teaching extension courses in fall 1912 and retired in 1930 after the summer session. When the Memorial Gateway at the corner of East Main and South Lincoln streets was dedicated in her honor, Prentice called the gate “a fitting symbol of the college ... as an entrance into the larger life.” * She passed away at home three weeks later on Feb. 6, 1935. Her sisters, Georgianna and Eugenia, continued to live in the house, and Georgianna Prentice rented rooms to students until the early 1950s.

The new location for the Wick Poetry Center is in the restored historic May Prentice House, the 113-year old building named for
Kent State’ University’s first faculty member.

As the new home of the Wick Poetry Center, the May Prentice House has been restored and renovated to provide a larger and more flexible space for Wick programs and community use.

In addition to housing the Wick staff and intern offices, the house offers a state-of-the-art digital classroom, the Stan and Tom Wick Library, the Jo Woodward Reading Room, and a third-floor Poet’s Loft for quiet reflection and student conferences.

*from The Years of Youth by Phillip R. Shriver 

The Poetry Park

Residing in the heart of the Lefton Esplanade greenway, the Poetry Park offers an outdoor gallery with changeable display kiosks featuring Traveling Stanzas — poems by Wick Poetry Center authors, school children, Kent State University students and the Northeast Ohio community. This rotating display of poetry posters, which was the brain- child of the Wick Poetry Center, in collaboration with School of Visual Communication Design Professor Valora Renicker, adds a lively and interactive component to the park.

The landscaped park is an inviting space to gather with friends or sit alone for reflection and inspiration. It offers a tangible, physical expression — like the Lefton Esplanade itself — of the creative connection between Kent State University and the surrounding community. It provides a setting for public events that bring the university and town together and is a gathering place for many, including visitors to the esplanade, the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center and nearby retail establishments. The centerpiece of the poetry park is a 50-seat performance amphitheatre and specially commissioned 12-foot bronze sculpture by artist and Wick Poetry Center co-founder Robert Wick.