Poetry Installation on State Street

—Elle Eichinger | October 8, 2012 | Homepage Latest The Latest

In a creative nod to Poetry magazine’s centennial, the Chicago Loop Alliance and the Poetry Foundation will adorn banners, planter signs, subway entrances, and other surfaces with the verses of T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, and other renowned poets this October.

But the month-long installation is more than visual. The CLA’s year-round Lightscape—the multi-sensory display unveiled along State Street last November—will broadcast audio excerpts of poems as well. The ode to poetry runs along State Street from Wacker Drive to Congress Parkway. Here are some of our favorite Chicago-centric excerpts:

From Chicagoan Carl Sandburg’s poem entitled “Chicago,” 1914.

Building, breaking, rebuilding

From Chicagoan Reginald Gibbons’ poem entitled “Trains Above Pedestrians,” 2006.

Working for others,
with hands, backs, machines,
men built hard towers,
that part the high air

From Sherwood Anderson’s poem entitled “Evening Song,” 1917.

Back of Chicago the open fields. Where you ever there—
trains coming to you out of the west—streaks of
light on the long gray plains?

From Susan Stewart’s poem entitled “Consecration,” 1983.

one evening a woman
loses her way as she’s
swept into a passing wave

of commuters and she
looks up toward the perfectly
empty rectangle

now hanging between
the rutted mud and the sky.

From W.S. Di Piero’s poem entitled “Chicago and December,” 2006.

Mealy mist. Furred air.

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