May 5, 2010KR BlogKR

Is that a…POEM in your pocket?

“Why are you getting up so early?” my roommate asked, raising her eyebrows.

“I’m going to go hang poems up on Middle Path at sunrise.”

“Okay…have fun.”

Kenyon’s Middle Path is, as the admissions brochures say, the “central artery” of campus. It’s about ten feet wide, nearly a mile long, and covered in gravel (and puddles). And last Thursday, thanks to the early-rising Poem Pixies, it became a gallery and marketplace of sorts–for poetry!

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It’s great when KR can get into student life. Normally it’s kind of a quiet presence on campus, but last Thursday it took Kenyon by storm.

You know it’s Poem In Your Pocket Day when you start seeing poems on clotheslines, on trees, and even on sculptures.

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Renaissance Man and Woman (by Charles Eugen Gagnon), don't have any pockets. They just have to dangle these poems.

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As the day grew older (thankfully without a drop of rain), poems slipped off of clotheslines and into pockets. Lunch tables–at least mine–became little circles of cheerful literary sharing.

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I carried three poems in my pocket: “Poetics” and “Because You Asked About The Line Between Prose And Poetry” by Howard Nemerov and “On Looking Up by Chance at the Constellations” by Robert Frost.

I even shared “Poetics” during seminar for Odyssey of the West (a course in the Integrated Program in Humane Studies). Professor Hawthorne looked at our text for the day (Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality), thoughtfully stroked his goatee in that way that bearded professors have, and said, “Well, I think Nietzsche would appreciate the absurdity, but not the randomness.”

I also celebrated by declaring my English major! Here’s my sticker from the registrar’s office on one of my Poem In Your Pocket Day buttons:

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The day ended with Zach Savich reading in Cheever Room, which was of course fantastic. (He totally made my literature-filled day when he remembered my name after meeting me briefly during the early-morning poem-hanging.) His is the kind of poetry that forces me to close my eyes. I’m one of those visual/spatial people and I have trouble memorizing music or, y’know, paying attention during poetry readings because printed music and words translate a lot better in my head. Zach’s poetry got me to listen, to close my eyes and make images without the help of printed text. It makes me want to be a kid and a grown-up, all at the same time.

What poem(s) did you carry in your pocket? How many times did you share?

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