HoCoPoLitSo

Home » Education » Students’ Moments of ‘Quiet Potential’ with Writer-in-Residence

Students’ Moments of ‘Quiet Potential’ with Writer-in-Residence

Join our email list.

To receive notifications about upcoming HoCoPoLitSo events via email, simply click
Subscribe.

Upcoming HoCoPoLitSo Events

  • Blackbird Poetry Festival April 25, 2019 Howard Community College, Columbia, MD 21044, USA Mississippi’s Poet Laureate Beth Ann Fennelly headlines the eleventh annual Blackbird Poetry Festival for HoCoPoLitSo. The festival, set for April 25, 2019, on the campus of Howard Community College, is a day devoted to verse, with workshops, book sales, readings, and patrols by the Poetry Police. The Sunbird poetry reading, featuring Ms. Fennelly, as well…
  • Film/Author Presentation of Girl Rising With Aminatta Forna June 30, 2019 at 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm Join in saluting the founding of the Columbia Film Society and HoCoPoLitSo with an afternoon that celebrates the education of girls, the beauty of story, and the power of collective action. This joint anniversary event features a talk by one of the writers of Girl Rising and a showing of the documentary film that inspired…

Upcoming Regional Literary Events

  • CityLit Festival - Baltimore April 27, 2019 at 9:00 am – 5:30 pm 11 W. Mt. Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201 Each April, CityLit Project presents its signature event: CityLit Festival. The day-long celebration of literature includes concurrent programming throughout our partner's venue so that there is something literally for everyone.
  • Wilde Readings May 14, 2019 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Monthly reading with featured writers and open mic. Free.
  • Books In Bloom June 2, 2019 at 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044, USA Downtown Columbia's book festival.

Sometimes the hands rise slowly.  Sometimes they shoot up quickly.

Other times, hands rise up cautiously as the eyes dart around the room.  I love this moment for its honesty, its quiet potential, and the way that question maps out the terrain I have to travel to at the least show each and every school in Howard County that poetry is present, possible and matters. As writer-in-residence for HoCoPoLitSo, I travel to the county high schools to read and talk poetry.

Poet Derrick Weston Brown speaks with students at Atholton High School. (Photo by Paige Feilhauer)

Poet Derrick Weston Brown speaks with students at Atholton High School. (Photo by Paige Feilhauer)

During the reading, I share stories behind the inspiration and origin of some of the poems and then I ask the students if they have any questions about certain poems. Many even request me to read certain poems and then give their own interpretations on them.  We talk about other things as well. Ipod playlists. If Twitter is an appropriate space for poetry. Role-playing games. Favorite books. Dating. Haiku. Race. Gender. The list goes on.

If I have any sort of a complaint, I wish that perhaps my visits could extend past the usual fifty-minute class time. Usually the bell rings and the students make their way to lunch or to another class and I find myself a little melancholy that the connection we’ve built in just a short time is broken. But so much has happened within those small bubbles of time. I’ve witnessed brave students share their own poems when I’ve asked if there are any other poets in the room.

I’ve watched them deliver heartbreakingly honest and earnest poems, shaking paper and all, with the kind of sophistication and insight I truly wished I possessed at their age. I’ve stayed after my allotted time with passionate teachers and their poetry-hungry students who fire questions like pistons at me about form, meter, and content.

I enjoy this job most of all because I realize that Howard County is not as mysterious as I thought, because poetry dwells there, and anywhere poetry lives is home.

Derrick Weston Brown
HoCoPoLitSo writer-in-residence

To support HoCoPoLitSo’s Writer-In-Residence program in Howard County high schools, consider making a donation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: