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WH: Magpo 1998

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Perhaps you remember the magical Magnetic Poetry Wall that stood on Penn's campus last April as part of the Kelly Writers House's celebration of National Poetry Month? On loan to the Kelly Writers House from Magnetic Poetry, the Wall brought poetry out into the city, turning passersby into poets and celebrating spontaneous creativity.

This year, Magnetic Poetry introduced a new way to bring poetry to the people. During the month of April 1999, three Volkswagen Bugs covered with oversize poetry magnets toured the country, making pit stops in various cities on a mission to get people, especially kids, to "catch the poetry bug." Driving the Bug: two EMTs (Emergency Metaphor Technicians).

For three days, from April 5-April 7, the Poetry Bug was here in Philadelphia, on a visit coordinated by the Kelly Writers House and Magnetic Poetry.

April 5 on Penn's College Green.

Students from the House and volunteers from the Goldsmith Coordinators and the Center for Community Partnerships hosted a Kids Extravaganza for schoolchildren from three west Philadelphia elementary schools. One hundred first, third and fourth graders from the Samuel Powel School, the Charles Drew School, and the Dr. Anna Howard Shaw Middle School gathered on the Green to play poetry tag, "break out" in poetry tattoos, write poems on the Bug and receive Poetic Licenses.

Acclaimed Puerto Rican poet Victor Hernandez Cruz, author of Red Beans and Panoramas, a recipient of NEW and Guggenheim Fellowships, and a former "poet in the schools," will join the kids and students to play, read and write on the Green. Each of the children received a book thanks to a generous donation from The Barnes and Noble Penn Bookstore at 36th and Walnut.

Other co-sponsors of this program include the Goldsmith Coordinators from the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Community Partnerships.