Poetry News

Attack of the giant poems!

By Harriet Staff

This month, the Billboard Poetry Project brings local verse to the Beehive State—in 9,000-point font. Masterminded by former MFA student Ashley Mae Christensen, the project takes poetry off the page and onto the streets:

The aim is to offer commuters in Utah County a heartfelt, thought-provoking alternative to the barrage of billboards vying for their attention. Poetry will be displayed on three billboards in Provo throughout the month of September.

“I believe in the art and writing created around me,” she said. “I am buoyed up by it.”

For this reason, Christensen is taking an active role propagating the arts in her community. The idea for the project was sparked while driving on the freeway and noticing the endless procession of billboards lining the banks of the road.

“I saw words, images, phrases, ideas, but nothing that resonated with my soul… My heart felt heavy and manipulated as we whizzed past billboards flaunting liposuction, plastic surgery, chain restaurants that offer little by way of local culture and talent.”

Christensen thought, “What if we put poems up on these billboards?” For over a year, she and her husband couldn’t stop talking about the idea—and after help from a professor, a grant from the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts, submissions from over 100 poets and the aid of a graphic designer, her dream finally became a reality.

Read the winning poem and find the full article here

Originally Published: September 8th, 2011