temporary poetry walk

January 28, 2015

MSU poetry chalking

In these days of multitudinous journals, readings and instant self-publishing, there are many ways to get your poems in the public eye and ear. Here’s another: poetry chalking. For the fall semester, the Poetry Center at Michigan State University “arranges a poetry chalking on MSU’s campus to meet students and spread the joy of poetry.” They provide the chalk as well as an assortment of poems, though students are invited to write their own.

Poets.org suggests, “Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk!” Teacher Steve Peterson held a “chalk-a-bration” on the sidewalks of his small Iowa town with his 5th-grade students. Poet and teacher Justin Evans chalked poetry in Nevada with his Honors English students.

Caveat 1: Choose your sidewalk carefully; Danny Rowland, in Bath, England, irked local authorities with his political verse chalked on public walkways. Caveat 2: Choose your chalk carefully. Regular sidewalk chalk washes away easily, but other types of chalk may contain oil, which makes them resist removal. More here.

Happy chalking!