Poetry in Public

Verse covers campus buses, walls, and conference halls
June 1, 2010

The ride between East and West campuses on a Duke bus takes about seven minutes, plenty of time for a quick chat, a last-minute study session, and now, a poem. Thanks to the efforts of Deborah Pope, professor of English, and Beverly Meek, an assistant in the arts outreach and communication program, the interior of twenty-five buses are now adorned with excerpts from well-known poems chosen by Pope's students.

The displays are just one of many projects that Pope says create a "critical mass" of poetry on campus. Interactive "poetry generator" software allows visitors to the Link in Perkins Library to create their own poems on a large touch screen, and a mixed-media poetry installation plays in the East Duke Building's corridor gallery. A conference, "Life Lines: Poetry for Our Patients, Our Communities, Ourselves," aimed at bringing together poets and health-care providers to discuss the therapeutic use of poetry, will be held on campus May 21 to 23.