‘Poetry and postcards’ workshops a hit in English classes

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    Cole Davis-Brand and Gaelen Murray during a workshop. Photo: Tina Browne
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    Facilitators of the Amherst Poetry Festival workshops conducted at ARHS. Photo: Tina Browne

In connection with the Amherst Poetry Festival on Friday, September 16, three sophomore English classes at ARHS participated in poetry workshops sponsored by the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Brooke Steinhauser, the educational coordinator at the museum and an ARHS alumn and Halie Theoharides, editor of UMass’s Jubilat poetry journal, led the workshops.

“I was excited to expand the Festival to serve the High School this year,” said Ms. Steinhauser.

Ms. Theoharides provided art supplies and post card paper for the workshop, planning a “hands-on poetry-making” activity, in which the participants made “poetry on postcards.” Ms. Theoharides said she feels that “postcards are essentially poetic.”

Copies of Jubilat poetry magazine were passed out among the students and they were invited to cut apart, rearrange, and glue them together on a fresh piece of post-card paper.

Photos were also passed out for gluing alongside the words. With these materials, students created their own unique poems.

English teacher Ellen Reich was a member of the committee that oversaw the proposals for Amherst Poetry Festival. Steinhauser, Theoharides, and an MFA student at UMass came to her class to present the workshop.

Since it happened early in the semester, Ms. Reich said it was “a great activity for students to get to know each other.”

The students involved were very enthusiastic and Ms. Reich described the atmosphere that day as “boisterous” and “engaged.” The workshop was a success, with students crafting lines such as “a few days ago, I ran into premium soy sauce” and “imagine men trying to eat pearls.”

English teachers Tina Browne and Tracey McCormick, along with two of their classes, also participated in the workshops.