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Poetry Center Lights Up Billboard

By Margaret Lyons in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 6, 2004 10:41PM

If you want to drop $2,600 on a dope LED thingie for us, that'd be great. Image: the Poetry CenterWe were downtown the other day, and as we were waiting for the bus, we noticed a cool billboard on Chicago and Wells. "Be light. At the crest/of every moment emerging, breathe," it told us. We felt a little inspired and a little confused but didn't think much of it because, well, we were drunk. Ahem, tipsy. It was like, 5 p.m. or something, too. Anyway.

So there it was, and we thought about it most of our bus ride home, (that and grilled cheese sandwiches…mmm) but didn't really have the wherewithal to figure out exactly what it was. But that's the great thing about running a website: every so often, the information just finds you. Case in point: our friend Michelle from the Poetry Center e-mailed us today to tell us that the sign is a project co-sponsored by the Poetry Center and Lightology, where we can never ever shop because we are not bank. Thanks, Michelle!

The poem, "Farewell," is by Chicago poet Li-Young Lee. He wrote it specifically for the occasion, "a non-commercial message Chicagoans could look forward to seeing throughout the holiday season," according to the Poetry Center press release. "The Poetry Center and Lightology believe this to be a brilliant message during the holiday season and the darkest part of the year." Aw, get it? Dark? And brilliant? And it's a light store? You guys should, like, write poems or something. We crack ourselves up.

More to the point, we think the sign is pretty damn rockpants. Part of the Poetry Center's mission is to make poetry accessible, to integrate poetry into people's lives, etc., and we think those are admirable goals certainly achieved by the sign. Anything that gets our mind off grilled cheese for even a few minutes is OK in our book.