New Poetry Park to house the Wick Poetry Center

Jason Meek

Construction will begin soon on the new Poetry Park, the new home of the Wick Poetry Center.

The Poetry Park will be located along the Esplanade near Lincoln Street in between campus and downtown Kent.

David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center, said that the location on the edge of campus will be a “bridge” between the school and community, literally and figuratively.

Hassler said that the park will be used for all kinds of events in the community, not only events hosted by the Wick Poetry Center or Kent State. It is meant to be an inclusive space for both Kent State and the community to share.

The project is expected to start construction this spring once the weather permits it and will continue throughout summer, said Mindy Aleman, the executive director of Gift and Estate Planning.

Aleman said that the Poetry Park is an idea that has been in the works for several years.

“It will be a beautiful extension of campus,” Aleman said.

A dedication will take place September 25 to 27, Hassler said. A specially commissioned statue sculpted by Wick Poetry Center co-founder Robert Wick will also be dedicated at the ceremony.

The park will include interactive exhibits that will allow visitors to use their smartphones or tablets to access readings of poems from writers and authors in the community, Hassler said. This feature is provided by Traveling Stanzas, a collaborative project between the Wick Poetry Center and Glyphix design studio.

The exhibits will change periodically throughout the year to showcase new poetry and writers.

The park will also feature landscaped gardens and an amphitheater to be used for live events such as poetry readings or other performances, Hassler said.

The historic May Prentice house, the home of the first female faculty member of Kent State, will serve as the new home of the Wick Poetry Center. It was relocated last year to the Esplanade.

The house will contain a reading room, a library, and a poet’s loft on the third floor, as well as the offices for the Wick Poetry Center, Hassler said.

Donations for the park are still being accepted.

Contact Jason Meek at [email protected].