Three energetic young students of Manina Jones' third-year class at Western, "Canadian Literature, Creativity and the Local", have volunteered to pour themselves into the project as part of their class work, and because they are very enthusiastic about the idea.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, the idea is to get the city to stamp poems into the city's sidewalks as they are being repaired with new cement. An annual city-wide contest would decide on a few poems to be made into stamps each year for all that year's repairs. The poems would then be pinpointed on a map on the city's website. Citizens could use it to chart a route between poems, for a foot, bicycle or car adventure. My own motivating fantasy is that a child on the way to the bus or school would step over and look at a poem every day, and, as the years passed and as the child's mind developed, it would gain new insights into the deeper meanings in the poem, which would then become a part of the person's entire life, and poetry would become one of the pleasures of the grown adult.
The three students working on the project are (in alph. order) Jennifer Ball, Leizel Rafanan, and Noelle Schmidt.
We will keep you informed of progress, and hopefully keep you excited about the project. Let's face it; the more support we have, the more likely it will be that the city goes for it too.
Photo: This is one of over 700 impressions of nearly 50 poems in the sidewalks of St. Paul, Minnesota, the first city to institute this idea, and, as far as we know, the only one. During their first year, 2008, over 2,000 submissions were made!