Speak a Powerful Magic Cover
 Speak a Powerful Magic

This beautiful and moving book, featuring a representative collection of Traveling Stanzas poetry illustrations, celebrates the 10th anniversary of this award-winning community arts project. Launched in 2009 as a collaboration between Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center and Professor Valora Renicker’s visual communication design students, Traveling Stanzas pairs poems with striking graphic designs. The resulting images, in both print and digital forms, have been featured in galleries, community spaces, interactive media, and on regional and national mass transit.

"Speak a Powerful Magic" features poems by school children, immigrants and refugees, patients and caregivers, and veterans, alongside the work of well-known contemporary American poets, and it demonstrates that poetry is truly of the people. We turn to poetry to give voice to what is troubling us, to  honor what we love, to make sense of our lives, to remember our past, and to commemorate what we’ve lost. Here, it becomes clear that poetry, especially when coupled with the visual arts, has the potential to broaden our understanding and bring people together in ways that more traditional communications simply cannot.

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I Hear the World Sing cover I Hear the World Sing Sento cantare il mondo

When school children from Kent, Ohio, and Florence, Italy, were invited to express their thoughts about “Where I’m From” in poetry, the connections that emerged between these students from different continents were remarkable. Their responses to this prompt ― “lo vengo da” in Italian ― demonstrate the underlying importance of home, families, the natural world and the creative identities that children harbor within themselves.

The 40 poems in "I Hear the World Sing," printed in both English and Italian, presents these poems in three sections ― “The Chirp of Little Birds,” “Witness the River” and “I Write to Grow a World" ― which explore and celebrate the commonalities between us. Anyone can be a poet, no matter the language one speaks or writes. And by presenting each poem in two languages, this collection emphasizes how successfully poetry transcends both physical and linguistic boundaries, no matter the age of the poet.

Originally composed in workshops facilitated by the Wick Poetry Center’s Traveling Stanzas project and translated by students in Kent State University’s Italian translation program, "I Hear the World Sing" is an invitation for students of poetry, of Italian, and readers of any age to reflect on language and how it shapes our lives.

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"How Blood Works" book cover
How Blood Works, Ellene Glenn Moore

Winner of the 2020 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize with Judge Richard Blanco

How Blood Works is a collection of poems that considers the way memory, identity, and our very blood take shape in the places we inhabit: rooms, cities, landscapes, and spaces within the body. Moore also examines the idea of bloodlines—literal familial ties and the traumas, secrets, and complex relationships passed from one generation to the next. To explore these motifs, many of the poems borrow from the world of visual art, including painting, sculpture and its resonance with the creation of the self, and architecture, too, as a metaphorical counterweight to nature.

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On This Side of the Desert Book Cover
On This Side of the Desert, Alfredo Aguilar

Winner of the 2019 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize with Judge Natalie Diaz.

This debut book of poetry describes the experience of being raised in southern California as a child of Mexican immigrants in the shadow of the borderlands. Just as the borderlands are defined by the desert, so, too, are its inhabitants defined by their families, their culture shaped from the clay of the Sonoran desert and given life by the nourishing water of their ancestors. In these poems, the desert is recognized for what it truly is—a living, breathing body filled with both joy and pain.

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The Many Names for Mother cover The Many Names for Mother, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach 

Winner of the 2018 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize with Judge Ellen Bass.

“A compelling book about origins ― of ancestry, memory, and language” ―Ellen Bass

"The Many Names for Mother" is an exploration of intergenerational motherhood; its poems reach toward the future even as they reflect on the past. This evocative collection hovers around history, trauma and absence ― from ancestral histories of anti-Semitic discrimination in the former Soviet Union to the poet’s travels, while pregnant with her son, to death camp sites in Poland. As a descendant of Holocaust survivors, Dasbach ponders how the weight of her Jewish-refugee immigrant experience comes to influence her raising of a first-generation, bilingual and multiethnic American child.

A series of poems titled “Other women don’t tell you” becomes a refrain throughout the book, echoing the unspoken or taboo aspects of motherhood, from pregnancy to the postpartum body. "The Many Names for Mother" emphasizes that there is no single narrative of motherhood, no finite image of her body or its transformation and no unified name for any of this experience. The collection is a reminder of the mothers we all come from, urging us to remember both our named and unnamed pasts.

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