Step into Poetry #9: St. John's

Step into Poetry #9: St. John's

A poem by Sri Chimney was painted by artist Joe Gallagher on the front steps of the former St. John the Baptist School—the latest addition to the Step into Poetry project taking place on Erie’s eastside. The poem reads: Try not to change the world. You will fail. Try to love the world. Lo, the world is changed. Changed forever. —Sri Chimney Step into Poetry is a project of The Writing Studio under the direction of Mary Lou Kownacki and was funded in part by Erie Arts & Culture and an anonymous donor.

More Step into Poetry displays

Step into Poetry

Three new poems have been added to the Step Into Poetry Project dotting Erie’s eastside center-city neighborhoods. The classic lines from an Edna Vincent Millay poem appear on the front steps of 711 East 25th. Dan Serafin, owner of Serafin’s Grocery Story on 24th and Ash, requested poems on two of his properties. A Philip Larkin poem is painted next door to his store at 554 East 24th and words by Maya Angelou from “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” are on 605 East 24th.Artist Joe Gallagher is currently working on a poem for the steps of the former Saint John’s School on 27th and Wallace and when he completes it, he will have illustrated ten residences and buildings with short poems. Step Into Poetry is a project of The Writing Studio under the direction of Mary Lou Kownacki and was funded in part by Erie Arts & Culture and an anonymous donor.

Poem #5: Sisters' house

Step into poetry number 5

Freewheeling on a bike—

the butterflies of sunlight

all over me

by Robert Gray Is the latest poetry poem painted on an Eastside Erie home as part of the Step into Poetry project sponsored by The Writing Studio. By the end of summer 2016, twenty poems will be painted by Joe Gallagher on residences in Erie center city.

Poem #4

Step into Poetry #4

A poem by Issa is the fifth poem added to the Step into Poetry project sponsored by The Writing Studio:

Rest here

Sleepy butterfly

I’ll lend you my lap.

The new haiku was painted by poet and artist Joe Gallagher on the front steps of 532 East 23rd Street. “We plan to have 20 poems in place by the end of summer,” explained Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, director of The Writing Studio. Step into Poetry was made possible by a grant from Erie Arts & Culture and a private donor.

Morning Is

Step into Poetry #3

The 3rd poem in the Step into Poetry project was painted on an eastside residence last week.  The owner of the home at 904 East 23rd chose a short poem by Eve Merriam:

Morning is

a new sheet of paper

for you to write on.

Initiated by The Writing Studio during National Poetry Month in April, the plan calls for 20 short poems to be painted on the front steps of homes and businesses of Erie’s eastside by the end of summer 2016.   

Young Scribes

Girl Scouts at The Writing Studio

Hannah Paul, a member of the women’s writing collective, is helping Girls Scouts from Erie County earn their Scribe Badges through a creative writing program at The Writing Studio. Under Hannah’s guidance the young women are rewriting the tales of transformations by composing their own modern-day fairy tales, with illustrations. Hannah Paul is the Education & Outreach Chair, Film Society of Northwestern PA.

More on Poem in Your Pocket Day

Read Women's Writing Collective member Liz Allen's column in the Sunday, April 24 edition of The Erie Times-NewsThere is rhyme and reason to poetry -- and a role for it, too.

Poem in Your Pocket Day: hundreds of poems distributed

Marcy Hall, artist and Outreach Services Manager, Erie County Public Library

The Writing Studio celebrated National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 21 by coordinating poetry give-a-ways at four locations. The main branch of the Erie County Public Library distributed 500 individually rolled and ribbon-tied poems and each of its four branches gave away 100 poems.

Public Art: Step into Poetry

Step into Poetry Public Art

April is National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world, and 2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of this event. The Writing Studio is celebrating with Step into Poetry: One of the best ways to transform a blighted area is to infuse it with art that “plants a measure of splendor in people’s hearts.” The Writing Studio plans to paint 20 illustrated, three-line poems called haiku on 20 front steps of residences, city properties, and businesses on eastside Erie.

More on Step Into Poetry

Erie Reader's Katie Chriest acknowledges Step into Poetry noting that "we are lucky enough to live among numerous poets who help us to look beyond headlines and statistics and to reimagine what we take ourselves and our city to be." Read Katie Chriest's "Just a Thought" here.


The Writing Studio is part of The Studio at Saint Mary’s: Space to Create, where studio space is available for artists and innovative programs that can positively impact center-city Erie. For more information, contact Holly Nowak.

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