Poetry in the Heart of Kent
The Wick Poetry Center, in collaboration with the City of Kent and the university, have begun two new projects to place poetry into the heart of Kent. Each project will provide more opportunities for students and the people of Kent to be exposed to poetry in their daily lives through the use of kiosks.
First, the Wick Poetry Center has installed six poetry kiosks around downtown Kent. The kiosks are of varying sizes and placed in multiple places around the city. Each kiosk features a different poem, many written by students in the city of Kent who have worked with Wick Poetry Center teaching artists through the center’s outreach programs.
The kiosk features art inspired by and created for the poem. Each kiosk also has a speaker, which will play an audio recording of the author reading their own poem. These poems can be found on travelingstanzasmap.com, a website that provides an interactive map to show the location of each utility box. The site also allows one to read and listen to the poems as well. The poems selected for the utility boxes can also be found on travelingstanzas.com, along with many other poems. There, one can continue to interact with the poem through animated videos of the poem and videos of the author reading their work. The website also provides options to read the poem in multiple languages as well as read a brief introduction of the poem by its author.
Along with the inclusion of poetry into downtown Kent, there are also plans to incorporate poems along the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade using kiosks similar to those in the Wick Poetry Center’s poetry garden. There are eight different locations where these kiosks will be placed: The Science Corridor, the Witness sculpture, the Blue Moon sculpture, Prentice Gate, Oscar Ritchie Hall, the Psychology/Geology/Geography Corridor, the Women’s Center, and one overlooking the gazebo behind Merrill Hall. These kiosks will feature one poem along with original artwork inspired by that poem.
Instead of using poetry published by notable writers, the Wick Poetry Center has created an opportunity for Kent State students to submit original poems that are inspired by the location of the kiosk. Submissions are open until January 31, 2017, and the poems must be 15 lines or shorter. Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Traveling Stanzas on the Esplanade.” This is a great opportunity to contribute to the thriving poetry world within Kent State as well as create a lasting piece of art for the Kent campus.