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Poets Celebrate Spring on Banks of Charles River

By Lily X. Huang, Contributing Writer

Poems by Ezra Pound, e. e. cummings and William Wordsworth sprang up along the banks of the Charles River yesterday as a handful of students posted verse on stakes and picked up trash to celebrate spring in Cambridge.

The posting of the laminated signs was part of Spring, Poetry and Community on the Banks of the Charles, a project coordinated by Lois Hetland and Yonatan Grad, both tutors in Leverett House.

Clear skies and sunshine reigned yesterday as volunteers lined the river bank with the favorite spring poems of Leverett House residents.

Nevertheless, a brisk wind forced volunteers to wear scarves and winter coats.

More than 50 poems were submitted by House residents, from sonnets to haikus, by poets such as Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Sappho and Rumi.

According to Hetland, the diversity of poems reflects the “diversity of the community.”

According to its organizers, the project encourages the Harvard community to strengthen its ties to the city of Cambridge through a shared celebration of the city’s natural beauty.

“I think this is a really nice way for the University to do something for the town of Cambridge,” said Hetland, a 20-year resident of Cambridge.

“We’re a group of people who share this space and we really benefit from the river in a big way,” she said. “It really makes this place what it is.”

Grad, a pre-med tutor who is active with the Leverett Arts Society, received permission for the project from the Metropolitan District Commission last month.

Emily K. Colvin ’05, a resident of Currier, said she was eager to help yesterday when she heard about the event from the Environmental Action Committee. “It combines a lot of wonderful things—poetry, spring and the river,” she said.

Kraig Salveson ’01-’02 pitched in to clean up along the river where he used to row.

The poems are scattered along both sides of the bank of the Charles from the Weeks footbridge to the Eliot bridge. Some are planted along the sidewalk and some close to the water’s edge.

“It’s nice for people to have something to reflect on as they walk along the river and think about spring, its beauty, and the meaning of renewal,” said Grad.

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