History of The Poetry Coalition
The Poetry Coalition is a national alliance of more than 25 organizations dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. Members are nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is to promote poets and poetry, and/or multi-genre literary organizations that serve poets in the disability community and of specific racial, ethnic, or gender identities, backgrounds, or communities. Each March, members present programming across the country on a theme of social importance.
The Poetry Coalition traces its roots back to the Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2015. In November 2018, founding members met at the Wick Poetry Center, in advance of the 50th anniversary of the May 4th shooting.
Poetry and Environmental Justice | March 2021 Project
We are proud to announce our annual collaboration with the Poetry Coalition, in the month of March 2021, to promote the theme of environmental justice in poetry.
The theme of this year’s program, “It is burning./ It is dreaming./ It is waking up.: Poetry & Environmental Justice," is inspired by the poem "Map" written by poet Linda Hogan. The Wick Poetry Center, as one of the founding members of the Poetry Coalition, aims to explore activism and advocacy for the environment at a national level and inspire its community to participate in environmentally-centered programming.
We will promote this programming through a series of interactive online activities and events hosted throughout March. The Wick Poetry Center invites those of all ages and nationalities to participate in the Earth Stanzas, Vote the Earth, and River Stanzas projects, by contributing a line to a global community poem online. The Center is also excited to be developing a series of digital tools to increase the reach and accessibility of the Environmental Education Center at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Our undergraduate Wick interns, Olivia Farina, Lauren Good, Caitie Young, and Brook Wyers, will be curating and celebrating examples from these projects to feature throughout the month.
Past Collaborations with The Poetry Coalition
march 2020 | I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing: Poetry & Protest
Inspired by the poem “New Year’s Day” by Audre Lorde.
The Wick Poetry Center showcased its Armed with Our Voices digital, interactive exhibit, which prompts users to respond to historical documents, oral histories, and multimedia stories related to the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the tragic shootings, this immersive, digital experience provides a creative exploration of the relationship between peace and conflict, as well as the growing student activism movements around the world. The exhibit features a state-of-the-art “Listening Wall,” which the Wick Poetry Center developed with prototype funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
March 2019 | What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy
Inspired by Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry."
The Wick Poetry Center continued its support of the Poets for Science project in collaboration with Jane Hirschfield, which began with the 2017 March for Science in Washington, D.C., with special attention to advocacy in its interactive exhibit at the AWP Bookfair & Conference in Portland, Oregon. This exhibit encourages participants to contact their elected representatives in support of our scientific and creative communities. Simultaneously, it continued its River Stanzas project, which remembers the burning of the Cuyahoga River 50 years ago, with workshops throughout Northeastern Ohio, and its Writing Across Borders exhibit at the Lakewood Public Library, which celebrates the voices of immigrants and refugees.
March 2018 | Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body
Inspired by U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s poem "Flores Woman."
The Wick Poetry Center focused on events and outreach that addressed issues of the body—specifically the topics of the community’s opioid crisis and women’s health and advocacy—through writing workshops and discussions supported by the Portage Medical Center Foundation at the University Hospitals Portage Medical Center and the Kent United Church of Christ in Ohio. On March 16, the Wick Poetry Center also presented Writing the Body, a workshop dedicated for the Women’s Center’s Feminist Friday event.