I’m oddly inspired by parking lots. As I wrote in my book Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets, “Although I’ve written many nature-based poems, I find inspiration in ordinary stretches of asphalt.” Quite a few of my poems began in parking lots – “This is a Wild Place,” “Contemporary Realism,” and “Parking Lot Time Warp,” for example.
The City of Eugene Parking Services and Wordcrafters share my opinions on poetry and parking lots. On Friday, December 15, they unveiled Step Into Poetry, “the world’s first augmented reality poetry panels in a parking garage.” Step Into Poetry is part of the Step Into…Series, which displays short written pieces such as poems, stories, comics and plays in three of Eugene’s parking garages.
On Friday, I attended the opening ceremony at the Overpark Garage. The mayor, the poets, city officials, and some of the judges attended. I learned that the Step Into project had reduced vandalism and graffiti, and that the arts contribute millions of dollars to the city. Then we climbed the stairs to where the plaques are installed, near the entrances to each of the parking garage’s floors. The poets recited their poems for us.
The augmented reality feature is an app called Glimmer XP which enhances each panel with moving shapes and a recording of the poem. Yes, kind of like a video poem! This is the perfect gift for the video poetry addict. Now I can watch a video and hear a poem on my way to my car. This must be heaven. Thank you, Eugene!
The poems and poets:
“Fifteen Minutes,” Kari Boldon Welch
“Alphabytes of Eugene,” Shannon Victoria Pool
“Old Growth,” Deborah Rands Cullen
“Signs of the Times,” Tim McGee
“Near Skinner’s Butte Park,” Charles R. Castle
“Dear Maple,” Susan Whitney
“Gray Skies,” Melissa Rose
“My Feet Take Me,” Nicole E. F. Taylor
“Standing on a Manhole Cover,” Loreen Heneghen
Below are photos of each of the panels.