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Poetry Shades in the Geometry of Students’ Lives — a Guest Post by David Barrett

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  • 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…
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The latest installment in our occasional series of blog posts from members of the HoCoPoLitSo board...

PoetryOne day, I am in class alone with one of my students because her classmates are on a field trip.  She has been a member of a poetry workshop that has been in place for five years at Homewood Center, Howard County’s only alternative school.  It was organized by our media center specialist, inaugurated by poet Truth Thomas, and made possible from the Horizon Foundation’s contribution.

On this day, the student asks if I would listen to a poem she has been working on.  I said I would and she began to read a plaintive poem about her scarred relationship with her mother.  While she is reading, a second student enters the room and asks what is going on.  Before I can answer, she joins us and says “This is a poem!” and starts to cry as she realizes it’s about a mother-daughter relationship.  She states that she wants to say some things to her own mother (with whom she has never lived) but does not know how she would do it.  After hearing her classmate’s poem, she wants to try it in a poem.   With excitement in her voice, she asks if I would review it once she has completed the first draft. She is completely animated.

This is yet one more story of how poetry, serving as a vehicle to work through complex issues, is positively affecting the lives of students at our school.

Oh, I failed to mention that both girls are in my geometry class, not an English class.

By David Barrett
Ex-Officio, HoCoPoLitSo Board


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