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By Heather Johns
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Poetry lovers rejoice! Bucknell University's Poetry Path has launched a new installment of contemporary poems at 10 sites on campus and throughout historic downtown Lewisburg.
The 2013-14 version of the Poetry Path will be inaugurated on Aug. 30, 2013, with an opening tour led by Stadler Center for Poetry Director and Professor Shara McCallum, English, as part of the University's Arts.Everywhere. festival. Poetry Path tours involve members of the local community, as well as Bucknell students, faculty and staff.
"We're delighted to open our second installation of new poems on the Poetry Path," said McCallum. "The 10 poems we've selected for the 2013-14 year are by a varied and accomplished group of poets."
Poets whose works are featured on this year's Poetry Path include current U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey; Yusef Komunyakaa, another Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; and acclaimed children's and young adult author Jane Yolen.
Like several of the authors on the Poetry Path, Yolen will visit Bucknell in the coming year to offer a reading at the Stadler Center, open to the general public. Other authors whose poems are featured on the Poetry Path and who will be visiting the Stadler Center in the coming year include 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellow David Hernandez; current New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe; and the Sojka Visiting Poet for 2013-14, Marilyn Hacker, whose writing earned a National Book Award and many other distinctions and accolades.
Visitors can follow the path using an interactive app to find, read and hear recordings of poems by living poets, recited in the poets' own voices. The poems are printed on plexiglas panels, and visitors can use a QR decoder on their smartphones to access audio recordings.
The Poetry Path opened in August 2012. Since then, the Stadler Center has provided 20 guided tours experienced by more than 300 people. Local public schools also took advantage of the Poetry Path, with programs held this past April for National Poetry Month involving fourth-grade classes at Linntown Elementary and eleventh-grade English classes at Lewisburg High School.
"Our hope is that this year's Poetry Path will reach similar audiences and beyond," said McCallum. "As an art form, poetry is inherently meditative, asking that we slow down and pay attention to not only language but to our surroundings and to one another. The Poetry Path draws upon these resources of poetry to give our community a deepened awareness of the power of art, in each of our lives."
The Poetry Path is handicapped accessible and open year-round. It — along with other Stadler Center initiatives such as the Seminar for Younger Poets — is in keeping with the Center's mission to make contemporary poetry a part of people's everyday lives.