The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, home to the award-winning Traveling Stanzas project, is one of the premier university poetry centers in the country. It is a national leader for the range, quality, and innovative outreach in the community.
Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundation’s Vice President of Arts
The mission of Traveling Stanzas is to bring poetry to everyday lives by fostering meaningful conversations and encouraging new voices. The program offers people moments of pause to slow down and reflect on their lives, their communities, and to participate in a shared creative experience.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet & Educator
Traveling Stanzas is born from the belief that poetry is for the people. We turn to poetry to give voice to what is troubling us, to honor what we love, to make sense of our lives, to remember our past, and to commemorate what we’ve lost. From the Italian, stanza means a room—a place to pause. Indeed, Traveling Stanzas offers individuals moments of pause, pockets of time, with which to slow down and reflect on their lives, their city, and a shared experience of their community.
Launched in 2009 as a collaboration between Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center and Professor Valora Renicker’s Visual Communication Design students, Traveling Stanzas began as a project that paired poems generated in community writing workshops with graphic designs and disseminated the artwork on public transportation throughout Northeast Ohio. From its inception, Traveling Stanzas has continued to evolve and innovate, finding new ways to bring poetry to people’s everyday lives, facilitating creative and healing conversations nationally and internationally in such sectors of our communities as education, healthcare, literacy centers, libraries, national parks, museums, social service agencies for refugee and immigrant populations, senior centers, and veteran’s organizations.
Traveling Stanzas have been translated into numerous languages, exhibited in locations around the world, including at the March for Science on the National Mall in Washington D.C., at The Universe in Verse reading in Brooklyn, at the Tuscan AngloAmerican Festival in Florence, Italy, a multinational War Memorial in Lyon, France, and a holiday market in Slovakia. Now through a suite of creative tools, in both digital and analog form, as well as a system for viewing and disseminating community voices, Traveling Stanzas offers poetry as a means for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in a deeper and more meaningful conversation with themselves and each other, promoting cross-cultural understanding and empathy.
David Hassler is the author of two books of poems, including Red Kimono, Yellow Barn, for which he was awarded Ohio Poet of the Year 2006. He is the author of several nonfiction books as well, most recently the play, May 4th Voices: Kent State, 1970 based on the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project (The Kent State University Press, 2013). With photographer Gary Harwood, he is the author of Growing Season: The Life of a Migrant Community, which received the Ohioana Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Honor Book Award, and was a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award. He is coeditor of two anthologies by the University of Iowa Press, Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School and After the Bell: Contemporary American Prose about School, as well as A Place to Grow: Voices and Images of Urban Gardeners. He received a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from Bowling Green State University. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Sun, DoubleTake/Points of Entry, Indiana Review, and other journals. He speaks widely at state and national conferences on issues of poetry and education.
Senior Academic Program Director
Jessica Jewell is the author of three collections of poetry including Slap Leather (dancing girl press), Sisi and the Girl from Town (Finishing Line Press) and Dust Runner (Finishing Line Press). She is also an editor of two collections: Speak a Powerful Magic (Kent State University Press) and I Hear the World Sing (Kent State University Press). Jewell is currently the senior academic program director for the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University, where she also earned her PhD in higher education administration and an MFA in poetry. Her academic writing has been published most recently in the Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education and Inside Higher Education. Her poetry has appeared in Cider Press Review, American Poetry Journal, and Nimrod among others.
Marketing and Public Relations
Györgyi Mihályi-Jewell is a communications and marketing specialist with the Wick Center and International Programs and Education Abroad in the College of Arts and Sciences. She has an MA in Higher Education Administration with an Internationalization certificate from Kent State University as well as BA in English Literature from the University of Szeged and a BA in Business Administration from Kent State University. She is originally from Szeged, Hungary.
Program and Outreach Manager
Charles Malone is a Northeastern Ohio native who earned his BA and MA from Kent State before working on his MFA at Colorado State University. While in Colorado, Charlie taught poetry in the schools with Literacy Through Poetry and served on the staff of the Colorado Review and Matter Journal. In collaboration with Wolverine Farm Publishing, Charlie edited the anthology A Poetic Inventory of Rocky Mountain National Park. His writing has appeared in Salfront, Sugar House Review, Phoebe, Harpur Palate, The Laurel Review, Boneshaker, and Permafrost.
Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center is incredibly grateful to the following donors for their continued support of Traveling Stanzas.
Donald and Sue Hassler
Toomas and Paula Tubalkain
Ms. Therese Broderick
Heather and Ralph Wicks
Ralph and Judy Kletzien
Jerry and Jenelle Feezel
The Madey Family
George and Julie Dietz
Elliot Figman & Ella Jolly
Margaret Van Dyke