by: Alexis Stark
“When your world moves too fast
and you lose yourself in the chaos,
to each color of the sunset.”
—Christy Ann Martine
This past week, the Center for Poetry took its love for the written and rhythmic word to the sidewalks of MSU’s campus for Walk, Chalk, Poetry.
Since the fall of 2007, the RCAH Center for Poetry has hosted this event for people to enjoy the beauty of campus while establishing a presence and inspiring a love for poetry. By mid-day Wednesday, MSU’s River Trail was covered in pastel colored poems by Rita Dove, William Carlos Williams, Amy Lowell and Gwendolyn Brooks.
Director Anita Skeen and assistant director Laurie Hollinger spent the morning handing out sticks of chalk wrapped in a wide variety of poems for people to write on the sidewalk.
“I don’t know how many people actually stop and read the poems, still, it lets people know poetry is alive and well. ‘Autumn Leaves’ are autumn leaves, whether today or 100 years ago. They still carry the same message of mutability, of time passing and days shortening as we move into the bare months of winter.”
Skeen’s chalking of “Autumn Leaves” in pale yellow mirrored the slowly changing leaves on the trees above, hanging on, letting go and decorating the ground.
Part of the beauty of the event is watching the sidewalk slowly fill with poems of all colors and adding to the natural beauty of the Red Cedar River, the surrounding trees and the students passing all day long.
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
—Leonardo da Vinci
Returning interns Arzelia Williams, Grace Carras and Alexis Stark enjoyed the sunshine and making their mark on campus, celebrating their love for poetry.
This chalking was the first event of the semester for new interns Allison Costello and Shannon McGlone.
“My favorite part was watching students and dressed-up professionals stop to read the vibrant scrawling on the sidewalks, even if they didn’t participate in any chalking themselves.”
In previous years, the Center for Poetry partnered with the MSU Sexual Assault Program to bring awareness to experiences of violence and sexual assault. Survivors and supporters could bring their stories to life through the use of chalk, color and conversation.
College is stressful and fast paced. It’s a nice change in routine to take a break from the surrounding chaos and add some more color to the world.