Seen, Read, Heard, Considered: Public Poetry on Campus

Photo via ‏@MrJoshSeamon

This week, students and faculty were surprised to see poetry popping up around campus. The short poems appeared on stairwells and allowances, in the campus store and on cars.

The public poems were part of collaborative projects created by students in Modern American Poetry as part of their final assessment, said Jennifer Gross, who teaches the class.

“The challenge? How can we bring poetry more into prominence this week on campus?” she wrote in an email. “In small groups they devised projects for getting more poetry seen, read, heard, and considered.”

Ms. Gross’ students have posted poems on Facebook, planted poetry and readers in various non-English classes, and installed poster boards around campus to solicit crowd-sourced poems.

“On these boards, we hope you will contribute a line or two of your OWN poetry that connects back to the board’s specific theme,” wrote Paul Accorsi ‘14 in an email to the campus community about that last effort. “Use your imagination and be creative! Once the boards are full, we’ll be sure to send another email with the completed poems that you guys have written!”

One group used the steps in the Schoolhouse as a way to cue readers that they could find more poetry hidden in packages at the campus store. In bright, colorful letters, the poem read:

Spring is coming
The bees are humming
Your package and allowance are forthcoming
With many poets
I bet you didn’t know it
You’ll be getting poems
About your favorite season
So that’s the reason
Go to the campus store

The Modern American Poetry class welcomes poetry submissions inspired by the coming spring. If you’d like to make a submission to the public poetry project, please email your 5-10 line verse to by Monday.

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