Poetry event builds community

Poetry event builds community

Stevenson Arts Alive! will host a new event called “Poetry for the Planet” in the lobby of the School of Design on Monday, Oct. 28, from 5-6 p.m., during which students can build their own poems on a magnetic poetry board.

During this fall semester, over 100 students from courses in literature, creative writing, environmental science, and science writing submitted words related to the environment. The magnetic board will be unveiled at the event, and any students attending can use the words submitted by these classes to create their own poems.

Inna Alesina, assistant professor of graphic design, is participating in the “Poetry for the Planet” project. (Photo by Joseph Mauler)

“I wanted to create some kind of participatory installation for people to interact and create stories, where students feel freedom to express themselves creatively,” said Inna Alesina, assistant professor of graphic design. Alesina originally asked professors in the English department if they wanted to collaborate on this project.

“The brain can’t approach poetry using a logical mind. You have to approach poetry using associational logic, which is a different kind of thinking,” said Laura T. Smith, chair and associate professor in English language and literature. That’s why the people coordinating “Poetry for the Planet” expanded to six different classes from different disciplines to contribute words.

Dr. Laura T. Smith, chair of the English department, encourages the SU community to participate in “Poetry for the Planet.” (Villager file photo)

“Poetry for the Planet” is hoping to get concrete terms from the scientific community and abstract words from the English community on the issue of climate change and the earth. “Each class is coming up with their own word bank,” said Smith.

Students in each class that contributed generated 17 words related to the environment and sustainability, said Smith, adding, “Some English faculty are using literature to help kick off brainstorming and to fill students’ minds with rich and varied vocabulary.”

The classes that contributed are Dr. Amanda Licastro’s course analyzing author Margaret Atwood; Dr. Ashley Kniss’ course called “The Happy Corpse;” Dr. Aaron Chandler’s course on street poetry; Professor Meagan Nyland’s fiction workshop; Dr. Kimberly Tucker’s course in biology; Dr. Kerry Spencer’s course in science writing; and Alesina’s course on the fundamentals of digital media.

Alesina will reference the resulting poems from the event with her digital media class next semester, from which students will create digital projects. Smith also said that the “Greenspring Review” editors may take pictures of the resulting poems for their fall issue of the magazine.

The magnetic wall in the lobby of the School of Design will become a walk-by space for anyone passing by to continue to create their own poems. The magnetic wall will be available for the rest of the semester and it will “keep changing and evolving,” said Smith.