Friday, April 01, 2005

"At Hope, poetry is no joke... or is it?"

Friday, April 01, 2005
By Myron Kukla
The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND -- When Hope College students and faculty walked across campus this morning, they were greeted by a blizzard of poetry.

Penned by the famous and the relatively unknown, the poems were posted on doors, windows and classroom walls. They hung from bushes, were tucked into library books, taped to flagpoles and even stuck next to the cafeteria's lunch menu.

It's called the Poetry Blitz, an April Fool's Day joke that has become a spring tradition among Hope students in poetry and creative writing classes.

"The idea is to take poetry from the classes to the masses," said Glenn Lester, a Hope senior who participated in today's sixth-annual event. "It's a magical feeling when everybody shows up on campus in the morning and sees all these poems and you know you've had a part in it."

The literary event was inspired by creative writing and poetry professor Jack Ridl.

"I take credit but no responsibility for everything," said Ridl, who prefers to remain a Blitz bystander. "I stay home on this night because I wouldn't want to see anyone I know doing this. I might have to report them."

Ridl, though, takes pride in his students spreading iambic pentameter and free verse around campus.

"Spreading poetry ... brings a little bit of beauty and gentleness to our crazy world," said Ridl, who has taught at Hope for 35 years.

But not everyone is as happy with the aftermath. Campus maintenance workers usually are sent out early to pull down as much as they can.

"Because the maintenance crews take the poems down, part of the fun is hiding them in places that are not obvious, but where they will be found in a day, week or maybe next year," said English major Audrey Young.

Young said she is not afraid to reveal her connection to the group. "What would they charge me with? The unlawful distribution of poetry?"

© 2005 Grand Rapids Press.


Blogger megan said...

I'm glad that you posted it...
I just saw an email from Jack about saved me some time.

Too bad I wasn't around for them to interview me about it.

2:07 AM | Permalink  

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