There is a joyful atmosphere at Harlem Academy, and the students are actively engaged in the process of learning. There are signs of creativity all over the small but wonderfully organized space.”
It was standing room only to listen to Harlem Academy middle school students and their poet mentors read original poetry on a Friday evening in March. The reading was the culmination of a six-week poetry unit made possible by the Poetry Society of America.
As part of the middle school English program for grades six through eight, professional poets Harmony Holiday, Christopher Stackhouse, Monica Hand, Ama Codjoe, and Randall Horton, assisted students in drafting, revising, and performing original poetry. The visiting poets broadened students’ understanding of what poetry can be, inspiring them to explore its expressive power.
The March reading served as a celebration of the visiting poets’ valuable mentoring and the students’ courage and creativity as poets. As sample of these poems are included below.
Special thanks to Alice Quinn, Charif Shanahan, the Poetry Society of America, and all of the poets who offered their poetry, energy, and advice.
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