PLIX Spatial Poetry: Reflections from the Beta-Testing Process 🌎

I’m mesmerized by your walk poem! I love the disorienting blur- the movement and quick, changing landscape snapshots. the diagonal sign representing the direction of Grand Ave. And the humor in the words, “coming in 2020” - if it came, it’s surely gone by now (considering it’s 2021 and the rate of change the backdrop of your poem suggests. I really like this Ry.
In addition to offering art supplies and resources for writing poetry, we can supply them with a means to create poems like this as well as having visual, dynamic examples by setting up laptops/printers for patrons to use.


My Walk Poem started one way in my mind and ended up another way. As I walked around the streets, an urban-almost-suburban neighborhood, I was amazed at the number of controlling signs that bombarded me. I see them, and yet I don’t see them, every day.
I came home and decided the walk made me think about the feel of these streets that I know so well. I made a quick cardboard stamp. It was not an ideal material but it was all I had on hand. I cut the shapes of the main street arteries into the cardboard and then stamped them all over a big Strathmore drawing sheet with blue acrylic paint. The stamps are not so visible in the final product but I loved making them and the shape pleased me. I made a list of signs I saw on the walk and then added more words to give them a narrative.
The Walk Poem is a very well-rounded exercise to present to students, I think. It provides for multiple modalities and forms of expression. I added some music, inexpertly to my presentation which evoked the feeling I wanted to give to the poem. Students could really get creative with photoshop, music editing, etc. It reminded me of a project that took place here in Long Beach a few years back called Soundwalk. You can see some of the current iterations here.
It was sound art that was set up in locations around the city. You could walk by and try to make sounds or just experience them. I thought this could be a good offshoot of Spatial Poetry, adding the sounds along with the images.
Here is my poem, the stamp, and following is the link to the sound presentation I cobbled together. (I hope the link works properly - it says Michelle Obama Library because that is my old branch and I am still using the same Canva account :grimacing:)


Well, thank you so much! Made my day :blush:

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I like how this became a visual color poem :rainbow:


Alright friends, this week I played with acrostic and haikus for my walk poems, although I admit there wasn’t much walking involved. Unfortunately, I have a busy week (just got back from YALSA and am prepping for a library booth at a Maker Faire this weekend), so a walk feels a bit out of reach. Instead, I started thinking about my commute and since it’s about 20 miles and rural, I drive. I created an acrostic poem of the streets and exits that standout on my commute, centered around Central Oregon. Then I followed it up with a haiku explaining why it’s a little different this week.

Since we’ve started this beta-testing I have been thinking about a goodie that came in the Beau-Symm beta testing box, which was a transparency. I thought this would be a really fun way to work on a map, without destroying the map, and then you end up with something somewhat abstract. One of the first maps I found was from a hut hike I did in the Austrian Alps. The haiku I wrote is partially about the landscape, but about the signage and directions (my German is incredibly minimal).

Jagged edges and
Foreign lines guide wanderers.
Distant memories.

Also, I got my goodie box this yesterday and am excited by all the fun bits and pieces. Can’t wait to explore and put them to use.


@sami.kerzel I am digging the idea of using the transparency and moving the shape and/or poem around to different backgrounds. You could take a whole photo series of different backgrounds and see how it affects the understanding of the poem. And the acrostic is a great prompt especially for participants who might want something to start with for their poems.

@rygreene you were truly inspired to use google maps views for the places. I want to explore that more too. I love to play with the 3D terrain maps that let you bring the cityscape into almost an “on the street view.”

I am super motvated by all the cool resources being shared. I am trying to find time to check them all out because they are all rabbit holes that I will fall down, in the best way.


My walk in Praha 10 poem, using @rygreene’s idea to take a digital stroll!


I am struggling again this week! First of all, it’s pouring here today and I’m not that dedicated, lol. I did do a walk around my library, but it’s rural, so there isn’t much in the way of signs.

Erving Public Library Care(s about) Seniors, (and the) Community.
Car(ing) Ahead!
(This) Way! Do Enter! Reserved (for you)!
Park! (Embark!)
An Accessible, zero-emission, Hybrid, (Library).


Great idea. Ther is that fun game where you get a photo from google and try and deduce where it is: World - Game - GeoGuessr


I enjoyed the nudge this project gave me to go out for a walk to complete it. The street namers in my neighborhood were really into making the area seem like the biggest fiesta of all time. All the streets around here are en espanol and named things that translate to joy, happiness, party, carnival, etc. Very exciting and an exciting thing to pay attention to on my walk. I learned some new Spanish words as the result of my walk. The streets a few blocks over are named for birds, which I didn’t even realize. I learned that “colibri” means hummingbird and “pinzon” means finch, for example. Though these words didn’t make the cut in my poem, this assignment helped me learn new vocabulary, which was awesome! There was perfect weather on Thursday, so my dogs and I had an excellent time with this assignment. I like that it encouraged movement to go along with the poetry. This would be a fun assignment for guardians and kids to do together to learn new words and the history of their neighborhoods. The materials/programs I used for this assignment were very boring…just photos and Publisher.

A small, unrelated note. I got my box of materials from PLIX this week for this Beta-Testing group. The materials were a lot of fun. I loved the variety and color when I opened the box! Unfortunately, the piece of charcoal put a coating of black all over everything in the box. If more boxes are sent out in the future, I suggest wrapping/bagging the charcoal so it doesn’t coat the rest of the materials in charcoal dust.


Better late than never! My reflections as well as my walking poem are here


@STORYTIMESTEPHANIE I LOVE the texture samples!! And “architexture” - I had never encountered that word before and am so glad to now have it swirling inside me – thank you!!


I love that it’s swirling inside you :sunny: !
I’d like to think I made that word up; I’m sure it’s been around before yesterday. It literally jumped out at me as I :camera_flash: the shot.


Sorry for my lateness! I’m still catching up from being sick this week. I took my walk on a walking trail near my home, and saw very few signs of any kind. The one sign I did see, denoted my trail as a great Missouri Birding Trail (pictured). There’s lots of wildlife on these trails! I’ve seen snakes, lizards, deer, turkeys, and lots of birds. Since wildlife is a special interest of mine, I decided to try and draw a bird with my fancy new markers (they bled a little when I wrote my title) and nothing but street shapes and the path I took on the trail. I highlighted my walking path in light green. I also wrote a poem using the words from the only sign I saw (I think I said this before, but I am NOT a poet.) ![doc16837820211113154737-


Oh, I love the bird you drew! What a great idea.

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My latness beats Abby by 6 minutes! Ugh. I made another Canva presentation about this week’s prompt can be seen here. Thoughts, process, poems, and collage are all there. Remember to skip the first 5 slides as they repeat an overall intro to spatial poetry.

My PLIX box arrived a few days after I started the rough notebook paper drafts. But, I’m thinking I’ll use the graph paper to sketch this walk out when I have time as seeing everyone’s post inspires me. It’s always fun to play that way, too.

As for my thoughts on the zine, here they are:
I Hope I Will Someday See Cover” (first slide)

  1. correct #papercircuits in lower left to #spatialpoetry

Finding Your Way

  1. The 3 text boxes by the street signs are excellent.
  2. The 3 text boxes on the map are not as clear with the exception of the last one: “These place
    names have their own history & cultural associations.”
    a. Are the other 2 text boxes on the map necessary?
    b. If you keep the “Streets, building, etc” text box should it be incorporated into the part of
    the “Look at a map of where you live section.”
    c. What exactly is the idea being conveyed by “names in a landscape make up their own
    language.” Why the word landscape? Why not a map? Or is geography and geological
    features the focus? Or, are the buildings and landmarks of urban development the focus?

Poetry and Place

  1. Homer to Langston – Read this and thought, “they didn’t remember the ladies.” Feeling
    reinforced with the eye-catching “men” in Homer’s poem. It’s a short quote that draws the eye
    and Phyllis Wheatley doesn’t appear until the next page.
  2. The graphic for the Sappho poem is really great and clearly illustrates the point.
  3. In Southern California by Joaquin Miller is way too tiny. I know it’s supposed to be California, but
    you can’t read the poem!
  4. General thoughts of the poems & poetry examples:
    a. Is this zine for all ages? Or university & adults? Some of the poetry feels very higher
    learning classroom.
    b. Restricted by public domain? Addition of some modern poetry or at least one “known”
    from middle or high school teaching might draw participants to begin the creative
    process. Frost, Poe, Emily Dickenson, William Carlos Williams, ee cummings? I know. I
    know. They are over used at times.
    c. Considering adding a children’s or teen poet like Jack Prelutsky, Nikki Giovanni, Elizabeth
    Acevado, Nikki Grimes, Judy Sierra, or Shel Silverstein.
    d. What about Tupac Shakur’s The Rose That Grew from Concrete?

Alternate (crowded spread)

  1. Liked the look of this. Clear connection to conveyed thoughts. Joaquin Miller poem looks better
    (though still difficult to read)
  2. Under the Dunbar poem, “Poems capture how people think and feel within a place” Feel within?
    Or feel about?

Cover Options

  1. Prefer an option that does not have name places as visible or at a minimal as it invites participants to see a connection to their own world wherever it may be. Unless we can have various city ones (loving the DC one for my own library use).

Yes I had carbon paper black all over too :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Thanks for sharing your presentation slides. I really enjoyed them and will try to incorporate something similar this into my workshop presentations, either virtual or in person. It is good to have multiple modes of presentation for different kinds of learners.

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I wanted to add a last posting of thoughts and examples from a very casual/passive program with a small group of tweens. It was not the kind of workshop where I made a big presentation or gave much direction at all. I just put out lots of the maps I had chosen for our local area, along with lots of various craft materials. I provided each kid with a blank white sheet to start with.

I showed them the zine, but they were not focused on it. This age group can be quite finicky. I have always loved the little zines, however think I would like to make a larger zine that would be easier to read and look through.

My takeaway was that the activity was great and the kids produced art that was completely representative of themselves, naturally, but not necessarily what the prompt suggested. I feel that we will def need to run this program as a series of workshops, building knowledge each time. Dipping our toes in this time just introduced them to the format. I think it has been so long since many kids participated in projects like this, we will have to build up their attention span, their practice, their muscle memory of how to go about something like this. I want them to be more engaged with the process, but this was a perfect beginning.
I will say that they were very intrigued by the Indigenous Peoples’ names of places, and discovered many that retained names that they recognized. It is baby steps right now.

This first one was almost my favorite: a mobile phone mock-up with a map on the screen showing the most important places circled. The restaurant circled at the top left is across the street from our library and is an old-fashioned, comfort food diner place. And this boy mentioned many times how much he loves it :shallow_pan_of_food: :pancakes: :cake: The Bake n Broil :heart_eyes:

Here are a couple others


I really enjoyed reading how this unfolded for you all – I got up to a few weeks ago and have to come back for the rest :smiley:

I was reminded of a “Your House Has a History” experience I had this summer. I was trying to figure out who built my house, and ended up looking at a lot of maps of the area from 1890 to now, and found out I live on what used to be Joseph Street. I have three Joseph/fs in my life and laughed myself silly over it. I wouldn’t have thought to connect that to spatial poetry even though I did this recently. (You can see some photos here)

@rygreene Those really interesting resources. I follow someone on IG who must use but I never thought to ask about it. So cool!

@sami.kerzel The redacted style of Removal of the white man is so striking! (Might as well go with the pun!) The collage is neat, too, we just don’t find that kind of detail anymore.

@storytimestephanie Someting about your sentence “about my move…and how quickly it happened” gave me the an image of a portal and how when traveling, the whole middle part is a scene from a window (car or plane). And if we were to draw that like some other familiar place, there could be a lot missing. There’s a user research exercise where you might have people draw a familiar place (office, school, library) and what they recall and how they recall it can show you what stands out to them. So now I’m connecting those two ideas. Thanks for that!

@JacquiV The shadow box map caught be by surprise and the physical context of the walls and placement feel so meaningful.

@Jean_Daley Your poem is so fun!

@averymsnormandin I like the idea of providing maps. They almost feel antiquated sometimes! I had a road atlas 10 years ago, but not anymore.