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Tuesday December 7th

Kenan Theatre Company's poetry project encourages students to express themselves

A poem written by Ellie Baker. Photo courtesy of Hannah Whittington.
Buy Photos A poem written by Ellie Baker. Photo courtesy of Hannah Whittington.

Now until Feb. 27, poems written by students and faculty will decorate campus, from the N.C. Memorial Hospital to the lobby of the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Arts. 

UNC students and community members are encouraged to submit poems as part of a publicity campaign for the upcoming show at Kenan Theatre Company, “Indeed, friend!”

The campaign was inspired by the setting of the production: a college literary magazine where the main characters work. At this magazine, most of the submissions were poems written by themselves and other students, said Hannah Whittington, one of the publicity directors. 

“The basis of a lot of the show is them reading and critiquing poems from students on campus, and so we thought it would be cool to make that come to life a little bit,” Whittington said. “It’s kind of like introducing the audience to the show before they can even see it.” 

Publicity Director Olivia Herrera said another large theme within the show is finding your own voice and not discriminating between what is art and what is not, which she hoped to capture through the poetry project as well.

“At the root of the show there is this idea of finding your voice and putting that voice into publications so that it can be shared with others,” Herrera said. “We decided that what would be awesome is if we could find a bunch of different writers and poets and creative minds, and find a collection of all of their different work and have them submit the things they’re passionate about.” 

The campaign is accepting many different types of poetry in an attempt to not limit the voice of community members, Herrera said.

“People have been submitting poems that range from two sentences to a full page, like a full word document — and everything in terms of themes,” Herrera said. “People have really been taking this opportunity to tell their stories and the stories that they think are important in this moment.”  

The diversity of the poetry submissions is not only seen on UNC’s campus, but also in the play, illustrating the broad nature of poetry itself, said Emily Morgan, who plays Apple in the show. 

“Every character has a different writing style, and they also have a different perspective and different experience throughout the play,” Morgan said.” I think in that way of bringing it back to us and sharing the poems of the UNC community, poetry allows us to express our experience in more than just a literal sense.” 

Although many of the characters in the play are dedicated poets, this campaign also shows that poetry can be a fun and easy way to communicate feelings or thoughts that may be hard to express, said Talya Klein, the director of "Indeed, friend!"

“I think it’s a nice reminder that a lot of us do write poems in our free time, and that people have a whole inner life that they may or may not be sharing with people,” Klein said. ‘It takes a lot of guts to write something."


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