For What It’s Worth
What I did for my poetry graffiti assignment is inscription. I put classic poems on a couple of building’s entrances as my way of capturing what I felt or thought when I walked into those building past the door, or gate.
For the basement of the library, I posted a quote from Dante’s Inferno: specifically, the inscription on the gates of Hell. This was my inspiration for this project because sometimes, it feels like hell when you have to descend to the depths of the library to get your work done and it’s funny (to me, anyway).
For Cunningham (the theater building), I put a quote from Hamlet about proper acting because how often do you get to quote Shakespeare in a theater? (A lot).
For Sloan, I put Fate by Ralph Waldo Emerson mainly for the line “melody is born of melody” but also because of the first few lines, which made me feel the equalizing yet harsh mistress music can be when you are trying to write a song or make music.
For Watts, I put the “When I heard the learn’d astronomer,” by Walt Whitman because I thought of when I had physics class my first year and all I wanted was to be outside, not hearing lectures on physics at 8:30 in the morning.
For Dana, I put the “The Old Astronomer to his Pupil” because of the astronomer/scientist relationship to Watts and the hard work and esoteric nature of these science in relation to most people: that is that only those few dedicated people truly know what they’re talking about here.
For Martin, I placed an excerpt from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” because of how old the building is and the lessons people throughout many years have learned in that building.
For the Chidsey building, I put the “Dalliance of the Eagles” by Walt Whitman because of the relationship between that building and the Eumanean building feels like where all the leaders and shakers gather on campus.
On the outside of Chambers, I put “Oh me! Oh life!” by Walt Whitman to inspire down students to contribute their verse on the powerful play…in the classroom.
I put “Men Know Many Things” on the inside of Chambers so down students leaving Chambers worried about knowing nothing can be comforted knowing that all we really know is the wind on our bodies.
or Baker, I posted quotes from the Iliad so people could enter the arena pumped up for competition (even if it’s not war).
On Commons, I put a poem called “Mutton” by Jonathan Swift because that was the only poem I could find about joyous feasting (there’s a definite dearth of feasting poems).
I put “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by John Donne in the elevator because the people always stand awkwardly outside and in the elevator even though we’re all meant to ride the elevator together. Take something symbolic from that if you wish.
For the Union, I was going to put “Ulysses” by Lord Alfred Tennyson for the one gem of a line “I am a part of all that I have met“, but I never felt comfortable enough to post it in front of workers at 1:30 AM. I just didn’t feel like engaging that level of awkward that late. The line rings true to me nonetheless.
So yeah, most of those were taken down by the next day; apparently, people don’t like randomly posted poetry in only black font everywhere. However, I’ve seen the Dana poem up the longest so either they just took the longest to notice or appreciate poetry more than most people here. Go figure.