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RCAH director works with CATA to mobilize art

January 25, 2012

Residential College in the Arts Humanities, or RCAH, Assistant Director Stephanie Glazier said she constantly is looking for ways to improve literacy and art awareness through poetry.

“It increases pleasure in meaning in life, and I’m lucky enough that it’s part of my job,” she said. “My mission is to place poetry in the public and increase the power of it in our daily lives.”

Glazier coordinated with the Capital Area Transit Authority, or CATA , to bring art and poetry onto the bus system.

Beginning Feb. 1, routes 1, 20, 26, 30, 31 and 33 will post placards featuring RCAH student artwork and the work of well-known poets, such as Ezra Pound, throughout their buses. This mobile makeover is part of the Poetry in Motion project, a program coordinated by New York City’s Poetry Society of America, which aims to infiltrate the work of well-known poets into the daily lives of citizens.

To launch the program, invited participants will join a “moving reception” on a CATA bus that will leave at 10 a.m. Thursday from Phillips Hall. The bus will stop at locations including Lansing’s Michigan Humanities Council, 119 Pere Marquette Drive, Downtown Lansing Library, 401 South Capitol Ave. and the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, 1710 E. Michigan Ave., and will feature poetry readings at each stop.

Glazier first was introduced to the project during her two years spent in Portland, Ore., when she became enamored with the city’s involvement with various types of art, including Poetry in Motion.

“I fell in love with the project,” she said. “I tried to coordinate it as best I could. I fell into their commitment to literary arts in ways that I don’t see in Michigan.”

CATA marketing director Laurie Robison said incorporating poetry with public transit will encourage riders to cherish the importance of poetry and literacy.

“(Poetry) is reflective of life itself and the different events we go through, the emotions that we feel, and in a lot of ways it justifies the way we live,” she said. “It’s a part of life, and by the same token, so is public transportation. It’s a unique way of tying two things together.”

Poetry Society of America Managing Director Brett Fletcher Lauer aims to bring a meaningful traveling experience to those who view the poetry in Lansing.

“Our goal is for the average commuter to find poetry in an unexpected way and make meaningful life experiences to take with them off the bus and into their daily lives,” Lauer said.

Chemical engineering junior Amanda Lindgren, who takes the Route 1 bus to and from campus daily, said the buses are in need of beautification.

“(This project) would give people something to look at on the bus other than each other,” she said.

In the end, Glazier only hopes to bring joy to everyday CATA commuters.

“I hope it delights people,” she said. “I hope it enhances their commute. I hope it makes them think.”


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