‘Giving Voice’ hosting a range of poets tonight

Poets of all ages will share poems and songs during the Wick Poetry Center’s fifth annual performance of ‘Giving Voice’ at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the University Auditorium.

The reading will feature students in grades three through 12, as well as senior citizens from Judson Retirement Community in Cleveland, who will present original work they created with Kent State students during the semester.

David Hassler, Wick program outreach director, started the service-learning course Teaching Poetry in the Schools as a three-credit hour, semester-long course in 2002, which is offered by the English department. The course teaches Kent State students the art of poetry, and then has those students teach their poetry in local schools. The course culminates in the ‘Giving Voice’ performance each spring.

Guest musician Hal Walker will perform original songs created in songwriting workshops with the students as well.

The course and workshops work along with the Wick outreach mission to encourage a better understanding, appreciation and love of poetry and writing with students of all ages, Hassler said. ‘Giving Voice’ is another opportunity to create not just good writers, but good readers and audiences for poetry, he said.

“We believe that ‘Giving Voice’ and the outreach program embody one of the core values of the Wick Poetry Center, which is to promote opportunities for emerging and established poets and poetry audiences locally, regionally and nationally,” Hassler said. “Since the Wick Poetry Center was established in memory of Stan and Tom Wick, two cousins who both loved poetry as students, we believe that the work we do with students of all ages is very dear to the heart of the Wick family.”

– Heather Bing