As we launch ourselves into vacations, beaches, and summer book reading, Dodge Poetry is taking some time to reflect on the classroom excitement we had this past Spring, bringing Dodge Poets into high schools. These visits are a chance for high school students to explore poetry with dynamic poets who give students a way to relate to poetry that is interesting and relevant to them, focusing on the immersion into the art form of poetry through conversation, readings and discussions. One of our favorite things to say here at Dodge is, you don’t have to write poetry to appreciate it. This is certainly true for our young people, too, and these visits are an opportunity for some high school students to meet their first “real live poet.” I’ve discovered firsthand here at Dodge from high school poet visits and mini-festivals, that students are hungry and curious about the lives of poets—asking questions about everything from decisions in crafting poems to what music poets enjoy.
One of our favorite stories this Spring comes from Sayreville War Memorial High School whose teachers and students attended the Dodge Poetry Festival in 2016. Their Poetry Club’s president found the page in our Festival program that detailed our poetry in the school’s program and the work we do bringing poets into classrooms. She reached out to us, wanting to know, “How do I make this happen for our school?” With the combined efforts of the Sayreville High School Poetry Club and Dodge Poetry, we were able to host the school’s first mini-festival. One student shared with us, “It was really nice to see real poets recite to us like we were close friends, the way they were sharing with us. I enjoyed the experience so much, I’d put the assembly as the best assembly I’ve seen in all of high school.”
We are thankful to all the high schools this year who put in great effort, went above and beyond to bring poets into their classrooms, including:
St. Dominic Academy in Jersey City [Hudson County] hosted a Dodge Poet visit with Naomi Extra; thanks to teacher Dena Arguelles.
West Windsor Plainsboro High School in West Windsor-Plainsboro [Mercer County] hosted a mini-festival with Dodge poets Grisel Acosta, Emari DiGiorgio, Jonterri Gadson, Cindy Goncalves; thanks to teacher Lorraine Seiben.
Seneca High School in Tabernacle [Burlington County] hosted a mini-festival with Dodge poets Marina Carreira, Emari DiGiorgio, Charles Johnson, Christine Salvatore, and Paul-Victor Winters; thanks to Assistant Principal/Supervisor Dave Knecht.
Barringer STEAM Academy in Newark [Essex County] hosted a Dodge Poet visit with Ellen Hagan and Robert Hylton; thanks to Vice Principal Taiisha Swinton.
Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner [Hunterdon County] hosted a mini-festival with Dodge Poets Laura Boss, Marina Carreira, Jonterri Gadson, Khalil Murrell, and Gretna Wilkinson; thanks to teachers Bonnie Beneszewski and Michael Crane.
North Star Academy College Preparatory High School in Newark [Essex County] hosted a mini-festival with Dodge Poets Jonterri Gadson, Roberto Carlos Garcia, Cindy Goncalves, Khalil Murrell , and Amy Meng; thanks to English Department Chair Mike Taubman.
Sayreville War Memorial High School in Sayreville[Middlesex County] hosted a mini-festival with Dodge Poets Marina Carreira, Christine Salvatore, and Vincent Toro; with thanks to the Poetry Club, teacher Theresa Chuntz, and Supervisor Kimberly Grossman.
Poet visits and mini-festivals are co-sponsored according to each New Jersey high school’s financial need. We identify and schedule Dodge Poets, ensuring that your event is meaningful for your students. If you think your school would like to host a Dodge Poetry event in the Spring of 2018, or would like to know more, please contact Ysabel Y. Gonzalez, Poetry Program Assistant Director, at email@example.com.
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