Jake Adam York
Published on April 30, 2014
One of Auburn University’s great legacies is the poetry of English Department alum, Jake Adam York. York, whose family has long lived in Alabama, wrote four collections of poetry, all bearing witness to Alabama’s difficult past. His work skillfully navigated both the pride and the shame of the Civil Rights movement, and, as all great poems of witness do, his work continues to light a way toward understanding.
This spring, students in Robert Finkel’s Introduction to Graphic Design class collaborated with students in Keetje Kuipers’s Poetry of Southern Witness class on a project commemorating the 50th anniversary of integration/desegregation at Auburn University and celebrating the work of Jake York. “Graphic design students were paired with poetry students to visually interpret the student-authored poems on Auburn’s integration inspired by York’s work." The designers spent three weeks conceptualizing, sketching, and creating sixteen broadsides. At the final presentation, poets read their works, and the designers discussed their process and design decisions amply demonstrating the care and attention that went into producing work that speaks so insightfully about this important step towards social justice on our campus.