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July 15, 2010

Giant Fridge Poetry at St. Michael's College

OK, so maybe it's not fridge poetry. It's actually, er, concrete poetry. Or meditative stone garden poetry.

Last Monday, July 12, St. Mike's installed its Word Garden. It's a circle 60 feet in diameter bordered by boulders and shrubs and filled with tiny pebbles. And 350 words carved on shards of stone by artist Chris Cleary of Jericho's On the Rocks Stone-Carving Studio.

The garden will also have "two stone chess/checker boards, with colored stones for checkers and chess sets stored nearby" and an outdoor chalkboard that instructors can use for their classes, according to a college press release.

But the word-stones are the star attraction. You can arrange them any way you want -- and education prof Valerie Bang-Jensen, one of the forces behind the garden, says she trusts students not to make off with them.

It might be tempting, because the words, carved in an array of sizes and fonts, are kinda pretty. They're leftovers from Cleary's various projects that he didn't want to just toss.

Seems one of those projects had to do with ninjas, judging by a sample of "poetry" featured in the video above: "The ninjas are here." Other messages are more benign and greeting-cardy: "Create2Much" and "High on God," for instance.

No word on whether this set of stone poetry contains any four-letter words. But, students being students, I imagine we can expect to see some highly creative uses of the Word Garden come fall.

Thanks for writing about the Word Garden; it is going to be an excellent addition to our campus. I had a wonderful time filming and putting this video together and I hope it captures just how special the Word Garden is to our Saint Michael's community.

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