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Poetry-to-Go: Faculty to Offer Lunchtime Poem Handouts

English professor Dawn Knopf poses for a photo. Knopf and other poets on campus will hand out poems outside Cannell Library on May 14. (Theresa Matthiesen/The Independent)

By Theresa Matthiesen – Reporter

In an effort to promote poetry on campus, faculty poets will set up typewriters in front of Cannell Library to type poems to hand out to passersby for a one-hour Poetry-to-Go event on May 14 at 11 a.m.

English professor and poet Dawn Knopf said the event is based off of Word War II-era New York poet Frank O’Hara, who spent his lunch hours writing short poems based on his surroundings. He published the collection in pocket-sized books titledLunch Poems.

Knopf said writing poems in O’Hara’s style teaches poets to accept mistakes.

“Those errors and imperfections become part of the poem itself,” she said. “Part of the beauty.”

Poets will have three typewriters and Knopf invites students to come by for a personalized poem, or to write a poem themselves. She said composing poetry in this style allows people to practice being mindful during our busy lives.

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