Tag Archives: poetry

Word Power – Reflect

The 2013 MHHS Poetry Slam held last week was a marvelous showcase of bravery, fun and self-expression, as students took their turn at the microphone to perform original poetic work (check out this article in the East Bay Newspapers covering the event).  Reflecting on this year’s event, MHHS teacher and Poetry Slam founder Kerry Mastriano said:

“Students tend to allow poetry to intimidate them.  They often feel disconnected to it and consider it to be on some kind of unattainable level.  My goal in creating the Music as Literature course was to present poetry to students in a more approachable fashion.  Many of them don’t realize that songs are poems, and once they do, they are more willing to embrace poetry altogether.  While teaching the course I witnessed a kind of metamorphosis occur; students who were once terrified of poetry became excited about analyzing, writing and performing it.  A Poetry Slam then seemed like a natural progression.  The students this year were amazing.  This is the third year we have held a Slam and they continue to blow me away.  They are so brave to get up there and pour their hearts out in front of their peers.  But what I find to be the most magical element is the way they respond to one another.  If one performer freezes or begins to struggle you can hear a pin drop, and if you look around you can see and feel dozens of other students in the audience holding their breaths, nodding and prompting as if to say “you can do it!”  For a brief time, all lines are blurred, cliques are disassembled, and they are all supporting one another during an extremely vulnerable moment.  It’s deeply moving.”

Ms. Mastriano hopes to expand this event for next year.  If you would like to support the next MHHS Poetry Slam, contact Ms. Mastriano at MastrianoK@bw.k12.ri.us.

I especially love Madeline Lessing’s poem for its earnest voice and clever imagery-

©2013 Madeline Lessing
©2013 Madeline Lessing

Word Power

Poetry Slam

3rd Annual Poetry Slam

Wednesday, March 20th


Mt. Hope High School

Chestnut Street, Bristol

These teens will make you laugh, roll your eyes, and move you to tears – all in a good way!  This event is free and open to the public … don’t miss out!

Spoken Word at RFL

All are welcome to join in the fun of an Open Mic Night at Rogers Free Library in Bristol, hosted by Kate Gorton’s creative writing class, on Tuesday, June 12th from 6pm ’til 8pm in the Herreshoff Community Room.  The collected works of the group will be available in printed form for the first time!  Come for the spoken word and music in a friendly, coffeehouse-style setting.  The gathering is free and open to the public, so bring your poetry, your stories, and your friends.  There will be refreshments (stromboli, coffee, juice and vegan treats); registration is appreciated, but not required (email RFL_BRI@hotmail.com).  Call 253-6948 for more details.

A Celebration of Poets & Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and every April I’m reminded of the spring when my family first encountered Jack Prelutsky’s humorous poem, “Sprig Id Here”, a near-perfect ode to the unfairness of catching a cold in the springtime:

“Sprig id here, I hab a code.

Idz id duh biddu ub by dode.

Idz id duh biddu ub by head.

I’b bidderabu, add I’b id bed.”

-excerpt from the poem “Sprig Id Here” by Jack Prelutsky, from his book My Dog May Be A Genius

This poem is so much fun to read aloud with your children, especially if they’re sidelined with the sniffles – sometimes laughter is the best medicine!  You can find more playful poetry like this at our local libraries or online (Jack Prelutsky’s website is a great place to start!).

Poems are meant to be read loud, to be spoken and heard, an age-old interactive arts experience.  In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Creative Writing Department at Roger Williams University is holding two poetry readings by guest writers this month, and the first is this afternoon:

Poetry aficionados and casual fans alike are invited to revel in rhyme at Roger Williams University this April in observance of National Poetry Month. To celebrate the month, the University’s Creative Writing Department will hold a series of free poetry readings and lectures featuring guest writers.

Poet Ann Townsend will visit the University on Monday, April 9 at 4 p.m., to share excerpts from her collections, including “Dime Store Erotics” as well as her more recent 2005 collection “The Coronary Garden.” The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Discovery Prize from The Nation, Townsend’s poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review and many others. She teaches courses in creative writing and literary translation at Denison University in Ohio.

The following week, on Monday, April 16 at 4 p.m., up-and-coming writer Nathaniel Perry will read excerpts from his 52-poem collection, “Nine Acres.”

You can read the full press release by clicking here.  National Poetry Month is organized by the Academy of American Poets, and their website is brimming with information, resources, and ideas for celebrating poetry.  I especially like their page, “30 Ways to Celebrate” where I came across more than a few intriguing ideas, like “Put a Poem on the Pavement” and “Start a Commonplace Book”.  And then there’s “Read a Poem at an Open Mic” and hey! we have an open mic venue here in our community!  The Coffee Depot on Main Street in Warren hosts an Open Mic Night most Friday nights, including this Friday, April 13th.

George Hail Free Library in Warren is joining in the celebration, too, hosting a poetry reading with Tom Chandler, RI Poet Laureate Emeritus, on Thursday, April 19th at 6:30pm.  The free event is co-sponsored by the Origami Poems Project, and audience members are invited to read aloud their own poetry, as well.  Call 245-7686 for more details.

Think poetry is not your cup of tea?  You might be selling yourself short.  In her March 2011 TED Talk, the inspiring spoken word poet, Sarah Kay, makes the most compelling, inviting, and breathtaking case for celebrating poetry in our lives that I’ve ever seen/heard/felt.  Watch the video below and see if you can’t resist the urge to jump up and applaud along with her audience!

Poetry makes us think, tickles us and makes us laugh, reminds us of what’s really important, frees us to express complex thoughts and feelings, and allows us to see the world from a different perspective.  Ask your children if they’ve been reading and writing poetry in school this month, ask them to read you their favorite poem, and share yours with them!  And share with The Arts Room, too – tell us about your favorite poem in the Comments section below!

Ah, springtime!

Happy springtime, everyone!  The birds are chirping outside my window, a truly welcome sound, and I’m preoccupied with thoughts of cleaning up the garden beds and the studio (and the kitchen and the deck and the kids’ rooms…).   You too?  I get it, but when the urge hits to get away from the house, here’s a rundown of upcoming arts events happening in Bristol and Warren through the end of March:

●Robbie O’ Connell is giving a concert at Linden Place on Friday, March 23rd at 7:30pm.

●An opening reception for the new exhibit, “Reveal and Conceal” is at the Bristol Art Museum on Friday, March 23rd from 7pm ’til 9pm.

●Bristol Art Museum is hosting “An Afternoon of Reading with Rhode Island Poets and Writers” on Saturday, March 24th from 3pm ’til 5pm.

●Americana singer/songwriter Amy Black will be performing on Saturday, March 24th at 7:30pm at Bristol’s Stone Church Coffee House; doors open at 6:45pm.

●The Roger Williams University Theatre presents “Endgame” by Samuel Beckett on Friday and Saturday, March 23rd & 24th at 7:30pm.

●Internationally-renowned mandolinist Marilynn Mair will join plucked-string chamber orchestra Enigmatica in a free performance at Roger Williams University on Sunday, March 25th at 2pm.

Bestselling author Dava Sobel will speak at Roger Williams University on Tuesday, March 27th at 7:30pm, as part of the President’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

●After much anticipation, Art Night kicks off on Thursday, March 29th with free trolley service running from 5pm ’til 8pm.  Explore 20 galleries in Bristol & Warren and meet featured artists, air sculptor Janice Lee Kelly and painter Debbie Gonville Miller, in their studios for an inside peek at how they create their works of art!

●The Mt. Hope High School Annual Throw-A-Thon is on Friday, March 30th.  This is an all day event taking place in the Ceramics Room at MHHS.  Students spend the entire day throwing pots, plates, and cups on the wheel, which will be glazed and sold to benefit the Women’s Resource Center in Warren. Contact Lauren Enjeti at EnjetiL@bw.k12.ri.us for more details.

Blithewold’s Winter Concert Series welcomes Opera Providence for “Murder & Mayhem” on Friday, March 30th at 7pm (and again on Sunday, April 1st at 3pm).

●IMAGO Gallery is hosting an opening reception for its new “Spring Invitational” exhibit on Friday, March 30th (call 245-3348 for time).

●The Stage Company Variety Show at Roger Williams University will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 30th & 31st at 7:30pm.

●Warren Art Spot is holding an art workshop, “Fun with Paper and Books!”, on Saturday, March 31st from 9am ’til 12noon, for children ages 6 – 10.  Fold, cut and collage with paper and create your own handmade books!

and this isn’t even everything … I didn’t mention 2nd Story Theatre’s current production, “August: Osage County”, which is performing to standing-room-only audiences!  Visit our Theatre page for more information; check out our other Pages to stay on top of the latest arts events happening in Bristol and Warren.  And as always, The Arts Room welcomes you to Contact Us to let us know about more arts news & events happening in our community!