Wisconsin Poetry News

2012 Woodrow Hall Jumpstart Awards

An offshoot of the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf initiative, the Woodrow Hall Jumpstart Awards were designed to help Wisconsin poets implement a project or program that brings poetry into the eye of the general public in an unconventional manner.
The award of $500.00 goes to Jim Pollock and the Aspiring Authors of Stevens Point for a project mounting monthly haikus on the historic Fox Theater marquee in Stevens Point. Built in 1894 and originally named the Grand Opera House on Main Street, this theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Finalist Nancy Rafal received $400.00 for her proposal for the Baileys Harbor Community Mural Project which will include Lorine Niedecker and part of her poem "Wintergreen Ridge" on an outside wall of Nelson's Shopping Center in Baileys Harbor in Door County. This project coincides with Niedecker's work being featured on the Poetry Trail in Newport State Park, and the 75th anniversary of The Ridges Sanctuary, which was the inspiration for Niedecker's poem.

Katrin Talbot, Susan Elbe, Jesse Lee Kercheval and Sara Parrell have received an Award of $300.00 for their Bridge Poetry Series, a partnership between statewide poets and the Chazen Museum in Madison.

Haiku Marquee Project

by Jim Pollock   

The Haiku Marquee project finished first in the 2012 Woodrow Hall Jumpstart Award. The $500 award will purchase letters for the Fox Theater Marquee in downtown Stevens Point. In its early years the Theater was a popular opera house and the center of entertainment, but in the 1980's lost its stage to the wrecking ball when a mall was built. Now the city plans to demolish the section of the mall behind the theater, permitting the Fox Theater to be restored to its previous glory. Built by Gustav Ferdinand Andrae in 1894,the theater has remained in the family ever since. One of the current owners, Donald Sanders, lives in Madison and was familiar with poetry popping up in unusual places through Shoshauna Shy's Poetry Jumps off The Shelf. He suggested someone should put haiku up on the old marquee, making it useful.
That comment was passed on to me, and I took the idea to our local writers group (Aspiring Authors of Stevens Point), many of whom belong to the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. They loved the idea, and I offered to write the Woodrow Hall grant if enough members would help with the project. I have since worked with Ada Sanders, Donald's sister, who has already purchased one set of letters (about half of what we need), and has helped with some of the logistics. Ada is a long time elementary teacher who regards this as just one more bulletin board to put up.
The Fox Theater is also located next to The Portage County Arts Alliance headquarters, and we are coordinating this project with them. Gallery Q is also located on the other side of the theater, and held its 2nd annual Verse & Vision poetry reading during the Arts Alliance Art Walk in downtown Stevens Point on May 18. So we hope to have our first haiku up on the marquee by then with all the hundred or so light bulbs lit up. Along with selecting two haiku, we will select 10 honorable mention haiku and post them in the two show windows of the theater.
Rules for submission of the haiku: no more than three, with the traditional three lines, but not necessarily 17 syllables. Send to: Haiku Marquee, Fox Theater, 1124 Main St., Stevens Point, WI 54481. For email send to jimpollock@charter.net. Include name, address and, if a student, grade level. Because we will be displaying new poems each month, there will be later opportunities to submit poems quarterly.