Wick Poetry Center holds first reading at Akron Art Museum

Megan Shovestull

The Wick Poetry Center gathered with Urban Vision students and members of the International Institute of Akron at the Akron Art Museum on Thursday for the first reading series of the 2018-19 school year.

Urban Vision is a program that has a vision “to build a vibrant, unified community, transformed through the love and hope of Jesus Christ.” The organization serves and aids a large group of diverse people such as immigrants and refugees and seeks to better the lower-income, at-risk neighborhoods in the Akron area.

The International Institute of Akron’s mission is to “contribute to the well-being of our community by creating and implementing programs and services that assist those born outside the United States to integrate into American society.”

The event began with two poems written by members of the International Institute of Akron followed by a group of students from the Urban Vision program.

Chit Snow, a seventh grader, read a poem called “Peace.” She said she really enjoys poetry and the Urban Vision program.

Sha-Niya Craig, an eighth grader, wrote a poem called “You and I,” which was about her mom and how close they were.

David Lewis, a tenth grader, read his poem, “My Life is a Rock.” He wrote the poem in the middle of his freshman year of high school. He said that while the poem was written for a prompt, he still found a way to mix creative ideas together to create his unique poem.

The museum also had a display of the Urban Vision students’ and International Institute members’ poems with illustrations and art created by Kent State graphic design students.

Charlie Malone, the Wick Poetry Center outreach manager, said this poetry reading was in the works for several years with Urban Vision and the International Institute of Akron. The poetry reading was supported by the Knight Foundation.

Malone said a lot of the Institute’s members were new Americans who fled conflict, and the program wanted to use poetry to help welcome them here and even help aid them in learning English.

“I’ve been working with some of these kids for 3 years,” Malone said. A lot of the Urban Vision students were children of refugees, and they’ve worked with some of the students during summer writing camps.

The Wick Poetry Center holds several readings throughout the year and collaborates with groups around the area. You can find more information about the center, its programs and events atwww.kent.edu/wick.

Megan Shovestull is the humanities reporter. Contact her at [email protected].