Teen gallery sees great turnout


Here in Iowa City, it’s easy to take the nickname ‘City of Literature’ for granted. Yes yes, there is the Iowa Writers Workshop.. our rich traditions.. the Iowa City Public Library. Yes, Iowa City is special. But what do every day students contribute? Perhaps a gallery opening of a revolutionary art form. Yes, that is surely enough to warrant the title.

Every year, the University donates thousands of dollars to the Iowa Youth Writing Project, a program designed to get children and young adults more in touch with their creative side. This year, there was a month-long Poemics (poems+comics) workshop led by local poets and writers from the University. According to program coordinator Dora Malech, the most exciting thing of the night was “The turnout. There are so many people hear tonight that it’s hard to hear!”

Malech’s concept for the 2011 workshop was inspired by the work of acclaimed poet and Iowa City legend,  Dave Morice, better known by his alias ‘Dr. Alphabet’. Morice has served an important role in earning Iowa City its literary recognition through his demonstrations such as typing a poem from the top of the Jefferson building to the ground.

The small coffee shop above Prairie Lights floods with people, gazing intently at the walls. On these walls are dozens of tastefully displayed Poemics, created by local teens. Among the crowd are beaming parents, dedicated volunteer teachers, and Dave Morice himself. “I’ve done a couple of similar poems (to those the students chose), and it’s interesting to see how kids handle it. There are a thousand ways to handle a poem, but just one is your way. That’s what I see here,” said Morice.

The crowd drawn to a local bookstore for a teen gallery show on a Sunday night serves to remind us what makes Iowa City special. “It’s the city of literature,” says volunteer workshop leader Alex Walton, “And it’s this sort of active involvement tonight that gives Iowa City that name.”

WSS Staffer Zora Hurst '13 by her comic display at the Poemics book release and art gallery at Prairie Lights on Sunday, Oct. 9