Students create public poetry projects

For their semester final, students in Dr. Elizabeth Majerus’ Poetry class were assigned a public poetry project, which is defined as “any large-scale effort to bring a particular public to a greater awareness of poetry or some aspect of poetry,” on the class website. The projects could target a wide range of locations, including Champaign, Urbana, Champaign-Urbana, the University of Illinois campus, or Uni.

For his project, senior Anupam Sharma decided to create a “Uni-themed scavenger hunt” along with fellow senior Chris Heffley. Sharma and Heffley took lines from poems and songs that relate to a certain location or object in Uni, with the goal being for students to find and take pictures of those lines. Sharma says they “goofed around for five minutes” before coming up with the idea. They chose to set their project in Uni to make the project more unique and specific.

Senior Camden Coleman also planned to create a scavenger hunt, but found the idea was more difficult than he originally anticipated. Instead, Coleman has put sheets of paper around Uni that students can take tabs from with lines of poetry on them. From there, students can go to the link on the sheet and type the line into his website.

Junior Alice Afonso and senior Jack Hsiao-Wecksler are working on a project with the MTD. The project involves Afonso and Hsiao-Wecksler collecting poems from fellow Uni students and displaying them in the ad spaces on MTD buses. The ads will also include links where readers can discuss the poems they read. Afonso says she liked the idea of “seeing poetry in everyday routine” and thought the poems would “liven the bus a little bit.”

Junior Bella Solis’ project involves two locations: Cafe Paradiso and the Uni High Library. Both involve poems folded into paper cards and set up on tables. Solis chose to have Modernist poetry displayed at the library and Romantic poetry displayed at Paradiso. Solis chose the library because she felt it was a “place of inquiry” and Paradiso because it’s frequented by people who enjoy poetry.

The projects are due May 1.