Thursday, April 26, 2007

Coffee House

A little late, but I’m finally taking the time to sit down and write something about the Writing Center Coffee House.

I am always amazed by kids getting up the nerve to read their work in public. To me, it’s about the most exposed a person can be. It's not only putting writing and speaking skills on display, it's also putting thoughts and feelings out there for the audience to hear. It is sharing at its most intense. And we did it. And I could gush on and on about that.

But what struck me most about this event was the sense of community that it made me feel. Brown, who is always there for me (and pretty much everyone else, at any time of day or night), brought in tablecloths from his second job (or is that his third job?). Deirdre helped the kids set up the common area so that it had a warm and intimate feel. There was a buzz of excitement in that space all day.

When have you heard of a payroll secretary reading poetry at a school event? Not only did Betsy bake cupcakes, but she also read a series of three poems about her daughter (complete with three framed photos). Nancy shared poems about intimate and emotional aspects of her personal life; most students never get to see this side of an administrator. Joanna’s father read a poem that he wrote! Brody read a piece that she wrote for the NYC Writing Project that was so good the security guard stopped her the next day to ask for a copy! Wait…the security guard stopped to stand outside the common area to listen to the reading!

People came and went, depending on various obligations inside and outside of the building. Students arrived to read breathlessly each time we thought we had finished. We had such a mix of readers, from the brightest to the neediest; they were all phenomenal.

William Carlos Williams wrote the following words which seem apt on reflection of what happened for a precious hour or two at QHST, and in honor of National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day:

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.


D. Guglielmini said...

It was an amazing event to be a silent observer at.
Will there be a "third ever" coffee house before the end of the year?

Superfly said...

Love you so much. Must I go to college? Can't I just stay here and write and read and listen and converse?