| 03.18.2018

The poems of our lives – The Vandal Poem of the Day program works to expose students to wide variety of poetry


Although most people”s lives don”t revolve around the library or printed books, human society is undeniably text-oriented.

Rather than focusing on printed text, however, Devin Becker, program head at the University of Idaho library, said people are drawn to digital text and social media.

Becker, one of the coordinators of the Vandal Poem of the Day project, said that”s one of the reasons why the project largely focuses on providing UI students with online access to daily poems.

Corrin Bond | Rawr
UI Digital Infrastructure Librarian Evan Williamson demonstrates how to use the poetry printer in the library.

The Vandal Poem of the Day is a collaboration between the library and the English Department that Becker said is a sort of twin to the “Aubie” program at Auburn University.

“They (Auburn University) got permission from Coppertown Press “¦ to publish (contemporary) poems that had been published in books before,” Becker said. “They published those last year, and we”re publishing them this year.”

Becker said a major goal of the program is to reintroduce poetry to people and expose more students to a wide range of poetry on a regular basis.

“A lot of times, you don”t even have access to contemporary poetry, and this is very good contemporary poetry,” Becker said. “It”s the forefront of poetry.”

The program also strives to open up conversations about modern poetry to more diverse groups and facets of campus that might otherwise never come in contact with such work, Becker said.

In addition to posting an online Poem of the Day, Becker said there is also a poetry printer currently located on the second floor of the UI Library by the circulation desk.

“We have these poetry printers that do these receipt printings,” Becker said. “We want to have one set up in the commons, so people can come and print a poem.”

The title, author and link to the full poem are posted every morning on the Vandal Poem of the Day”s Facebook and Twitter, too.

“It”s kind of about sneaking in that surprise, and if you read it, it”s just a different moment in your day – which is what art does,” Becker said.

As a slam poet, UI freshman David Catts said he is excited about contemporary poetry, and the idea of Vandal Poem of the Day.

“Being able to, in the same way you can go onto dictionary.com and look up a word, I can go on my laptop and look up the Poem of the Day is very cool,” Catts said.

Catts said that he thinks contemporary poetry is culturally enriching and that reading a new poem each day is an opportunity for growth he wouldn”t want to pass up.

Zach Dike, a UI freshman studying material sciences, said that poetry holds a special place in his world.

“I think it”s kind of a dying art. It”s its own little island in the field of writing, and I think it”s sad that it”s no longer taught in most of our schools,” Dike said.

Dike said that it seems like you can always find some of yourself in poetry, and that some of his most inspiring moments have occurred after reading a work of verse.

“I think (Vandal Poem of the Day) will be a good way to expose the students of UI, as well as anyone else who can access it online,” Dike said.

Poetry has gone through all the evolutions of visual art, but for some reason, it”s doesn”t seem to be viewed as a modern art form, he said.

“I think what the best case scenario would be, is to form a kind of base of people who are engaged with it,” Dike said. “Maybe we”ll start seeing more poets from the university start to spring up. It would be so cool to see poetry being fostered in that kind of way.”

Will Meyer  can be reached at  arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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