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Joelle Biele brings poetry alive for HoCo students

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Upcoming HoCoPoLitSo Events

  • Partner Event: Jason Reynolds at East Columbia Library. October 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm The Howard County Library System brings Jason Reynolds to the East Columbia Branch. HoCoPoLitSo is a sponsor of this event. For more information and registration details of the free event, visit page three of their The Source publication at: https://issuu.com/hoco_library/docs/2018_fall_final
  • HoCoPoLitSo Board Meeting October 13, 2018 at 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Howard Community College, Columbia, MD 21044, USA Monthly meeting of the HoCoPoLitSo Board.
  • Ordinary Wonder: Three Poets On Writing and Reality Michael Collier, Elizabeth Spires, and David Yezzi October 26, 2018 at 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Building, 5020, Campus Dr, Columbia, MD 21044, USA Michael Collier, Elizabeth Spires, and David Yezzi open HoCoPoLitSo’s 45th Season with “Ordinary Wonder: Three Poets on Writing and Reality”. The season’s 2018 Lucille Clifton Reading Series event features these three Maryland poets, each with new, acclaimed collections. Collier, Spires and Yezzi will read and discuss their work beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Monteabaro…

Upcoming Regional Literary Events

  • Baltimore Book Festival September 28, 2018 – September 30, 2018 Baltimore, MD, USA The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of author appearances and book signings, 100+ exhibitors and booksellers, non-stop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, poetry readings and workshops, panel discussions, walking tours, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, street theater, live music, and a delicious variety of food, beer and wine.
  • Dodge Poetry Festival October 18, 2018 – October 21, 2018 New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ 07102, USA The nation's premier poetry festival happens every other year in Newark, New Jersey. This is one of those years. Guess where we'll be. Info at http://www.dodgepoetry.org/

a blog post by Anne Reis, HoCoPoLitSo Board Member

Poetry is alive and well at the Homewood Center, Howard County’s alternative school. I know this to be true because I am Homewood’s Media Specialist and for the past 10 years, with the support of HoCoPoLitSo, I have been able to host poetry workshops in my library.

Students who attend Homewood have not succeeded in the comprehensive school environment. Poetry gives these students a safe and therapeutic way to express themselves and exposes them to the power of the written word.  The transformative power of poetry was never more apparent than earlier this year when HoCoPoLitSo’s Writer-In-Residence, Joelle Biele came to our library for a visit.

From the moment that she greeted the students with her calm spirit and razor sharp intellect, she engaged them in a different way of thinking.  With so much emphasis in school curriculum on STEM related subjects, students are rarely given the space or the time to think creatively.

Ms. Biele began her presentation by literally opening the space in the room with a Youtube video of Sandhill cranes migrating.  The peaceful images of cranes in flight gave our students a moment of Zen and the background knowledge that they needed to understand her poem, Autumn.  Ms. Biele challenged our students to think about what it means to write and the types of writing that they do in their daily lives.  Is a text writing? Can a Facebook post be poetry? And from where does a writer find his or her voice?

Students were also asked to respond to the prompt called “I am.”  Such an important question for every young person, and perhaps even more important for the struggling learners at Homewood: Who Am I?  Who asks students such questions and who cares about their answers?  The answer is loud and clear: poets!

For many of the students at Homewood the time spent with Ms. Biele was their first encounter with a poet, but hopefully it won’t be the last.


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