North Campus Poetry Installation Spotlights The Importance Of Water Sustainability

One of the chosen poems on the sidewalk.
Water Works: Cailin Rolph pours her heart out in a poem about the role of water in her parents’ lives. The poem is a new installation featured on a sidewalk at North Campus near the 9/11 memorial.
VLADIMIR MOMPREMIER / THE REPORTER

North Campus welcomed four new poetry installations in April.

The work features poems about water that are written on concrete using invisible ink. They are located throughout the campus, revealing themselves when the surface is wet.

The students’ poems were part of a collegewide contest hosted by the North Campus Poetry Month Committee. This year’s selections were all from Kendall Campus.

The contest, titled H2Odes after the theme of water sustainability, is part of an annual poetry contest series that the committee has been hosting since spring 2018.  

“We wanted to expand poetry month celebration beyond North Campus to try to include the rest of the College,” said Brooke Bovee, professor of English and Literature and co-chair of the committee. “Since we don’t have committee members on those other campuses, we tried to make it something that we could share among the English faculty.”

The committee accepted approximately 50 student submissions from February through March. To be eligible to submit a poem, submissions had to be from an MDC student and adhere to the theme of water. Entries were limited to a word count of 19, after the year 2019. They could be in any language as long as students provided an English translation.

“April is poetry month and with our activities and events we align our goals to the same as the O, Miami Poetry month festival which is to have everyone encounter a poem during the month of April,” said Carmen Mise, English professor and co-chair of the Poetry Month Committee. “Every year we strive to have one [poem] in Spanish and one in Creole for the student population.”

Darian Kettles, an English Literature major at Kendall Campus, was one of the students whose work was featured.  

“I think for up and coming writers to have this opportunity is really amazing,” Kettles said. “I felt like [this contest] was a great way to get my poetry out there and work on my craft.”

The H2Odes contest is part of the committee’s initiative to remove the negative stigma associated with poetry and make the concept of reading, writing, and enjoying poetry less intimidating.

“From teaching poetry in the classroom, a lot of students get nervous about reading poetry,” Bovee said. “I hear ‘I don’t get it’. A lot of times they feel like a poem is a puzzle and they don’t know how to solve it.”

Bovee and Mise, along with the other members of the poetry month committee, are dedicated to ensuring that students and faculty are exposed to poetry in a meaningful way while also providing a platform for students to showcase their work.

Cailin Rolph, an English Literature major at Kendall Campus, said she was “super surprised” that her work was selected.

“It’s weird to see my words, that I came up with, displayed like that. But I’m kind of proud of myself,” Rolph said.

Some of the committee’s other initiatives include installing poetry decals and digital projections on walls and TV screens around the North Campus, such as the light projection poem currently installed on the wall near the library. They feel these type of installations can help spread poetry to individuals who don’t normally read poetry.

“We hear a lot from students and faculty that they’re walking from one building to another and they come across this unexpected poem and they can take a moment and just read it and come away a little different,” Mise said. “If they were stressed or tired, it can just go away.”

The committee plans to continue to spread their love of poetry through installations on campus and another poetry contest next spring semester. For more information, contact poetrymonth@mdc.edu.

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