About Traveling Stanzas

Traveling Stanzas began in 2009 as a community arts project and collaboration between Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center and Visual Communication Design students and alumni. Poems generated in creative writing workshops were paired with graphic designs and disseminated on public transportation across the region. Bus posters traveled Northeast Ohio, achieving one of the primary goals of the project: to bring poetry to people’s everyday lives.

Traveling Stanzas has evolved since that first series of poetry posters—though it continues to bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms—strengthening all sectors of our communities, including education, healthcare, literacy centers and libraries, national parks, museums, social service agencies for refugee and immigrant populations, senior centers, and veteran’s organizations.

Writing Across Borders
With a major, two-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Wick Poetry Center is currently producing Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders. Teaching artists from the Wick Poetry Center are engaging the refugee and immigrant populations in the Akron, Ohio community in a cross-cultural, intergenerational conversation through poetry and graphic design. Working with Project Learn, Urban Vision, and the International Institute of Akron’s (IIA) refugee and immigrant populations, as well as the Akron Public Schools (APS), Wick is offering weekly poetry workshops to encourage people of all ages to share their voice across the divisions of language, age, and culture.

Traveling Exhibit
A selection of these poems are paired with graphic designs for posters to be displayed on Akron Metro buses, outdoor kiosks in North Hill, and other public spaces. Additionally, from the poems, designs, and animations that are produced in workshops, we are creating a digital, multi-modal traveling exhibit. The exhibit, which will begin touring nationally in 2018, will feature large touchscreen displays where users can browse poems and videos, share with others (via email and social media platforms) and submit their own short stanza or poetic lines to an ever-growing digital community poem at each site. Using the newest digital technology to connect us to one of our oldest technologies—the written word—Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders celebrates the diverse, cultural identity of our democracy and will engage a national, civic dialogue through the intimate and inclusive voice of poetry.

If you would like to bring the Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders to your community, contact the Wick Poetry Center at wickpoetry@kent.edu.