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Life as a laureate: visiting schools & feeling inspired

April 27, 2017

I’ve visited a lot of schools before I became poet laureate of Charleston. But now, the visits are becoming more frequent and more rewarding. I’ve done poetry workshops and/or read poems at The Cooper School, Meeting Street Academy, Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC), Sanders-Clyde, Academic Magnet, Wando High School, and Ft. Johnson Middle School. Soon, there will be stops at Daniel Island School and James Simons Elementary. And, I mentored a student from Charleston County School of the Arts at the beginning of the year.

Every experience has been rewarding, refreshing and eye opening.

I’m learning a lot about the best ways to teach poetry. Kenneth Koch’s “Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry” has been a God send. (thank you, Jonathan) At every school, I’m able to pull some inspiring (and funny) work from students. Check out some of the photos, below:

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… and one of the biggest honors OF MY LIFE came from a 10-year-old student at The Cooper School. Eloise’s class assignment was to find a “poet muse,” learn about their life and write a poem in their style. She picked … me? Yep. Read her poem, below, and check out the video. Her “hate and love” poem is a master work. Such raw emotion from someone so young. Truly inspiring.

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