Students showcase poetry skills through chalk event

To encourage interest in poetry on campus, the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Center for Poetry handed out chalk Wednesday, giving students the opportunity to decorate MSU’s sidewalks with creative poetry.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the Center for Poetry encouraged students to jot down their favorite poems on the sidewalks on the River Trail at Farm Lane and North Shaw Road.

The mission of the group is to get poetry into the community, including holding a poetry chalking event once a semester to engage students in poetry, said Laurie Hollinger, a Residential College in the Arts and Humanities senior.

“Poetry is a little overlooked, and I think it serves a great purpose in people’s lives,” she said. “A lot of people find their way to express (themselves) through it.”

Arts coordinator and director of the Center for Poetry Anita Skeen created the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Center for Poetry in the fall of 2007 with the goal of encouraging students to read, write and discuss poetry to show students the power of the trait in their everyday lives. The center often invites writers and poets to present to students and community members.

“One important thing for us is to let students know that poetry is accessible, and you don’t have to be scared of it,” said Linnea Jimison, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Center for Poetry assistant director. “You don’t have to have train to read or write poetry — we just want it to be fun and accessible.”

Neuroscience senior Inez Garzaniti was one of many who stopped to write poems on the sidewalk during the event, and said she’s always been a fan of poetry.

“When I was younger, my dad would always take me to open mic nights every Wednesday and there’d be a featured poet and open mic afterwards,” she said. “I always wanted to read poems, so that’s how I got exposed to the whole scene.”

In addition to the Center for Poetry, MSU has a Slam Poetry Team, Black Poet Society and other student writing groups, but Residenti

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