Sparta Students Attend The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival
Originally published on Oct. 29, 2018 https://shsoracle.blogspot.com/2018/10/sparta-students-attend-geraldine-r.html
On Friday, Oct. 19, a group of 24 Sparta English students journeyed to Newark, New Jersey to attend the annual Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. The festival, nicknamed “Wordstock,” is where thousands of poets- professional and otherwise- come together to share their work and personal stories.
Accompanied by Dr. Hier, Mrs. Barker, Ms. LeBlanc, and Mr. Rivers, the students split up with their chaperones to spend the first part of the morning listening to renowned poets like Juan Felipe Herrera, Raymond Luczak, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, David Young and more. The professionals read their work and hosted a question-answer session. Students were able to learn more about the writing process and reflect upon their own poetry as they heard personal anecdotes from the famous poets.
Although it was a chilly day, the group came together and enjoyed their lunch at Military Park, where they were able to participate in an open reading with fellow high schoolers from neighboring areas. An enjoyable sense of understanding and camaraderie was in the air, as students cheered each other on. Sharing poetry can be scary and emotional, considering how incredibly personal it is. A handful of courageous Sparta students took the microphone to share their own stories, representing SHS amongst a welcoming group of individuals.
The final part of the day included question-answer sessions with another group of professional poets. One specific group that was gathered at NJPAC- made up of Rigoberto Gonzalez, Eileen Myles, Sharon Olds, and Khadijah Queen- focused on dealing with and representing identity through poetry. Each came from different backgrounds, but all were able to connect with the audience through their extremely relatable stories and commendable life experiences.
All in all, the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival was a worthwhile success. Surely, Sparta Creative Writing and Performing Arts students learned a lot about the art of poetry, and are ready to express themselves with the same individualism and authenticity they experienced at Dodge.