Poetry Friday - Open Mic Event

Last night, I had an opportunity to experience poetry as only middle schoolers can perform it.  A few months ago, I pitched an idea to the Coordinator or my District's After School program (LEARNS) and to a friend, Jane Gov, who is the Teen Librarian at the Pasadena Public Library.  I have wanted the schools to partner more with the public library.  With Poetry Month coming up, I thought it would be a great way to try doing an event together. 

At all of our Middle Schools, the LEARNS program staff worked on a writing class called The Spoken Word.  As part of the class students worked on writing original poetry. Some students added interpretive dance to their poetry and others performed their poetry to rap music. No matter which format a student used, the poetry was authentic and powerful.

The LEARNS Program staff also brought student created art to display in the room. I was in awe of their work.

This young lady danced before reading her poem.

One of the staff encouraged her son to join in and he read an original poem about bullying. I tried videotaping it but unfortunately, the sound did not come out clear enough.

There were several girls who performed poems that were very personal and touching.

And there was even a group of boys who learned that lyrics are really just poems in disguise.  They performed biographical poems as Rap Songs.

The energy before, during, and after the event was incredible. Family and friends watched and celebrated with their poets. And at the end, everyone celebrated with pizza. 

In the end, the unanimous sentiment was that this should be an annual event.  I was thrilled that my idea could find feet and wings with the support of talented staff, who helped see it through.