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Poetry Takes Over State Street

By Sarah Cobarrubias in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 2, 2012 3:00PM

Lightscape is part of the month-long event to celebrate Poetry magazine’s centennial (photo via reallyboring’s Flickrpool)
You may have noticed the recent abundance of poetry displayed downtown. That’s the doing of the Poetry Foundation and the Chicago Loop Alliance, which joined forces to celebrate Poetry magazine’s 100th anniversary with a public exhibit of verse.

The installation, which kicked off yesterday and runs through October, will present poetry by and about Chicagoans for the couple hundred-thousand pedestrians who make their way down State Street between Wacker and Congress Pkwy each day.

Poetry is slathered across banners, planter signs, L entrances, featuring work by Modernist poets like Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and T. S. Eliot as well as work by previous Poets Laureate Kay Ryan and Robert Hass. You’ll also see the poetry of locals like Li-Young Lee and Reginald Gibbons.

The event will feature audio as well—a light and sound installation, Lightscape: a Multisensory Experience on State Street, will broadcast recordings about Poetry’s authors and Chicago-rooted history.
Lightscape is actually a year-round installation lining the sidewalks of State between Lake and Van Buren, made up of a dozen “prairie grass” landscapes equipped with LEDs and speakers that typically broadcast music and special announcements.

The Poetry Foundation has a whole bunch of other events going on throughout October to commemorate the centennial of Poetry. Check them out over at the foundation’s events site.