Naperville Teen Creates Downtown Poetry Walk

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Roses are red, violet are blue, if you love stories about poems then this one is for you.

How The Poetry Walk Came To Be

Neuqua Valley senior Campbell Kohls stopped by 15 Downtown Naperville businesses today hanging up 16 poems created by District 203 and 204 students.

“Through Teen Writers and Artists Project, last year, there was a competition to become Fox Valley Poet Laureate, and there were five finalists,” said Kohls. “All five of us got the title of Fox Valley Poet Delegate. “

Kohls, the Spoken Word Poetry Captain at NV, added that all five delegates had their work published in an anthropology, and received a $100 grant to bring poetry to their communities.

Local Support

Inspired by a similar initiative on a college visit, Kohls asked local poets for their creative assistance and businesses for some visual marketing.

“That’s such a wonderful thing that you’re doing, thank you for letting us be a part in it,” said a business owner.

The poems vary in length, topic, and structure. The businesses where they were hung up also varied, including boutiques, art shops, restaurants, dog clothing stores and bookshops.

“I mean we’ve got a huge window, people that come by here all the time, and I know that [Campbell] has obviously worked very hard on this,” said Kris Nugent, the manager at Anderson’s Bookshop. “To have a little space like that is really not asking very much at all. We’re always happy to do that.”

The Poems

By placing them in front of businesses with high foot traffic, the thought is community members are more likely to stop and read the poems.

Some poems are signed and others are left anonymous.

“I think it’s super important they get that opportunity, and if they don’t want their names displayed maybe one day they will,” said Kohls. “We’ll work up that confidence to get there. Especially during this time a lot of kids have had times to journal, to write, to explore poetry, and giving them an opportunity in a safe way, and in a safe space to rant about those frustrations or anything they want to talk about, and have it displayed, even if it’s not necessarily known who it is, I think, is really important.”

More About The Poetry Walk

The poems will be up for at least a week, with businesses having the option of keeping them up longer.

To view where the poems are displayed, you can visit Kohls’ poetry page.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.


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