pop-up poetry program aims to bring free verse to heights community

The pop-up craze in Cleveland has extended to shops, restaurants and even a demonstration of what a truly bicycle-friendly street looks like. Now the nonprofit Heights Arts is adding Pop-Up Poetry to the mix.

Based on a radical update of Lucy's "Psychiatric Help: 5 Cents" booth from Peanuts, Pop-Up Poetry brings free verse (literally) to the community. Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Cavana Faithwalker developed the idea to engage Heights residents and visitors with the literary arts during his tenure as community bard.

So far, local poets have popped up at Heights Arts Gallery, Mac's Backs bookstore and Cain Park in the Alma Theatre Courtyard during the Cain Park Arts Festival. Later this summer, the poetry booth will visit the Discover Cedar Fairmount Arts Festival (August 12th) and the Shaker Lakes Nature Center (August 22nd).

The Pop-Up Poetry booth, which was designed by architect Theodore Ferringer and furniture designer P.J. Doran, unfolds like an umbrella and sets up easily. People looking to solicit creative advice, ask for wooing tips or simply strike up a conversation with the poet should look for a sign reading, "The Poet is IN."

"We wanted to do some kind of guerilla poetry, something people don't expect poetry to be," says Bunny Breslin, who volunteered on the project along with former Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Meredith Holmes. "We've had people come up and recite their own poetry and younger kids who sat down and wrote poems. It's about bringing the word to people and enriching their experiences."

Source: Heights Arts
Writer: Lee Chilcote