A bridge to the community


The Wick Poetry Center’s garden

Alyssa Schmitt

When the third floor of Satterfield Hall became too crowded to contain all the opportunities the Wick Poetry Center holds, the center expanded elsewhere: to a house located at the end of the Esplanade.  

“The Wick Poetry Center has been expanding for years,” said Jessica Jewell, Wick Poetry Center program manager. “One of the things we’ve really been expanding with is the outreach program.”

Outreach Manager Nicole Robinson explained that the outreach program offers a course in the spring called “Teaching Poetry in the Schools” that any undergraduate student from any major can take. The course is meant for undergraduate students to learn how to create lesson plans and then teach poetry and readings skills to students in grade 3-12, as well as the community.

“The students halfway through the semester pair up, actually go into a classroom and teach for six to seven weeks,” Robinson said.

This course not only opens the minds of students from grades 3-12 to poetry, but also changes the undergraduate students who enroll in the class.

“My students enter the course because they have a love for writing,” Robinson said. “There’s this transformation that takes place both in their lives and in their students’ lives.”

Not only does the Wick Poetry Center implement poetry into the school system, but they also offer it to the community. And with the recently renovated Prentice House location, that opportunity is even easier.

“The great thing about this location is that we can bridge the community to the university,” Jewell said. “One of the main features of the house is the community classroom in the basements. It can accommodate creative writing classrooms and community workshops.”

Outside the Kent community, the Wick Poetry Center is also becoming involved at the Cuyahoga National Park.

“The park is doing an institute, and I am choosing poems that are going to accompany pieces that were written,” said Wick Poetry Center Fellow Karly Milvet. “It will make the subjects more accessible to people while adding a creative writing twist.”

The Wick Poetry Center is constantly involved in the community, but it always welcomes students and even has a reading loft on the third floor of the new location.

“Anybody who wants to read books of poetry on the third floor are welcome to do so,” Jewell said. “This is not some old academic stuffy poetry club. We really want to bring students into everything we do.”

Contact Alyssa Schmitt at [email protected].