CHICAGO– The Poetry Center of Chicago’s ELevated Verse will be arriving at platforms across Chicago on Monday, September 10, 2007. The project, now in its second year, places the poetry of Chicago public schoolchildren on Chicago Transit Authority posters located in CTA stations all over the city. The project is entirely sponsored by The JP Morgan Chase Foundation.
ELevated Verse uses poetry created by students enrolled in Hands on Stanzas, The Poetry Center’s literacy-through-poetry program. The project is part of the Poetry Center’s Public Art Initiative, which attempts to stimulate the public’s interest in and knowledge of poetry by placing it in highly visible, much-trafficked areas. The posters will officially be on display From September 10 to October 7.
“I believe there is a need for a more public poetry, “said Poetry Center Executive Director, Francesco Levato. “One that engages an audience who might not otherwise read it and one that gives voice to those who might not otherwise be heard. By placing the poetry of Chicago schoolchildren in the familiar settings of everyday life ELevated Verse does that and so much more.”
The project’s posters, created by designer Emily Calvo, feature a representation of a CTA track behind a featured poem. Said Calvo about her design, “I really like the idea of train track as metaphor for ladder, especially in this context.” PDF files of the posters are available on request.
This year the Hands on Stanzas program reached approximately 5,000 students in 35 public schools across Chicago. Participants are public school students from underserved Chicago neighborhoods, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. Roughly 45% are African American, 45% are Latino, and 10% come from other ethnic backgrounds. An average of 85% are from low-income families.
“The poetry-in-the-schools program reinforces the literacy skills we teach in the classroom while providing our students with an amazing opportunity to express themselves and learn more about poetry,” said Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools CEO. “We are very proud of our young poets and the example they have set for other CPS students.”
Founded in 1974, the award-winning Poetry Center of Chicago is an independent not-for-profit arts organization that is committed to building Chicago’s access to poetry through readings, workshops, residencies and arts education. The Poetry Center is currently in residence at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago. Visit www.poetrycenter.org for more. For more information about the Poetry Center or the ELevated Verse project, please contact Francesco Levato at 312 899-7483 or at [email protected].