Poetry Project Highlights Themes of Peace and Reconciliation
A Peace Stanza
Peace Stanzas is the latest edition of the ongoing Traveling Stanzas community arts project, a collaboration between Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center and the student-run Glyphix design studio. It combines the creative talents of Kent State Visual Communication Design students with original poems by area student writers, grades 3-12, to promote awareness of poetry and graphic design within the community.
Eight of the 10 Peace Stanzas poems were created in Wick-sponsored writing workshops led by Kent State undergraduate students. The other two poems were written by adult published poets, Naomi Shihab Nye and Edward Tick. Tick has counseled and actively supported U.S. veterans since the Vietnam era. He is co-director with his wife, Kate Dahlstedt, of the nonprofit Soldier’s Heart organization, founded to provide a safety net for veterans returning from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. He is author of the book War and the Soul.
Peace Stanzas gives voice to area student writers around the theme of peace by displaying posters in the interiors of Northeast Ohio area buses and transit systems, and in area businesses, libraries and classrooms. Valora Renicker, creative director of Glyphix and assistant professor in Kent State’s School of Visual Communication and Design, initiated the project with David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center.
“This project brings together the voices of children, seniors, teachers and established poets,” Hassler says. “It is a wonderful opportunity to expose poetry to those who might not normally encounter it. With the 40th anniversary of the events of May 4, 1970, coming up, the themes of peace and reconciliation are especially relevant.”
Peace Stanzas posters are currently on display in the Akron METRO and the Portage County PARTA systems, and in the Starbucks in Kent. Large banners of the designs will be on display in the Kent Student Center from late April through the May 4 commemoration events. Full-sized posters and blank greeting cards of the designs are available for purchase at the Traveling Stanzas website at www.travelingstanzas.com. All proceeds from the sale of the posters and greeting cards support future editions and student scholarships.
“The Traveling Stanzas project, started in 2008, was inspired by similar initiatives around the world,” Renicker says. London's Poems on the Underground program began in subway cars in 1986. In 1992, the New York City transit system followed London's lead and launched Poetry in Motion. Since then, other cities across the country have embraced the concept of poetry in mass transit. Renicker worked with the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority on a similar effort a few years ago.
New this semester, Glyphix student designers are developing animated Peace Stanzas e-greetings with music and audio recordings of student and adult readers from the community. Kent musician Hal Walker created instrumental audio for some of the animated poems. The animated e-greetings can be easily shared on the Internet for distribution worldwide. Links from the Traveling Stanzas website for the animations will take viewers to Vimeo.com. The initial animation for "Ode to Joy" can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/9863287.
Kent State’s Teleproductions department is developing a Peace Stanzas multimedia video which will be released for the May 4 commemoration events. “Kent State students working in Teleproductions and Glyphix had the opportunity to collaborate on the video, making the entire project a cross-media learning experience,” Renicker added.
Peace Stanzas posters will be on display in the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus this fall and at the International Peace and War Summit to be held Oct. 25-29 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
“As Kent State celebrates its Centennial in 2010, our students continue to play an active role in projects that highlight the creative excellence at the university and offer us new ways to re-frame our future by reflecting on our past,” Hassler says.
The major sponsor of Peace Stanzas is the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University. Other sponsors include the Poetry Foundation, the Burbick Foundation, Kent State University Libraries, DCI Color Imaging and Oliver Printing Company.
Peace Stanzas Contributors
What I Want
The Poem in the Time of War
Ode to My Body
With All These Moments
Ode To Joy
Flags Are Flying
During A War
By Bob Burford