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Wick Poetry Center News

Wick Juniors' Club Inspires Students and Teacher

Posted Sep. 8, 2011
Members of the Wick Juniors' Writing Club write along the Cuyahoga River, Kent.This summer I co-taught the young writers of the Wick Juniors’ Writing Club. Every Thursday, my teaching partners and I would meet and discuss what poems we wanted to share with our students. We collected our thoughts, ideas, poems, and lesson plans in the air-conditioned Wick Poetry Center. We ordered three or four large pizzas. We hunted down spare notebooks and pens. We looked at our watches. We waited—impatiently. And then, as our pupils flocked to us like dragonflies to shimmering water, the Wick office was transformed. The books in the reading room suddenly had small, delicate hands turning their pages, the heat of the afternoon still radiating from fingers and thumbs. Bananagrams tiles clinked across the tabletop as suntanned arms wiggled toward precious, unused vowels. Their love for language and imagery was brimming from the moment they arrived.

We explored everything from Dickinson to Neruda to poems by third-grade children. We created new superheroes, wrote to music, and always paid close attention to the five senses. One rainy July day, we taped an orange poster board to the wall and wrote odes to our favorite vegetables. We even composed poems on the shore of the Cuyahoga River; shoes littered the ground at the picnic site where we talked about what the river might say to us if we were to record its story. Regardless of the prompt, the young poets listened intently and spilled forth a wealth of imagination on those wide-ruled blue lines.

As a student of creative writing, I know helping children to exercise their passion for language is vital; I never thought twice about spending my summer listening, writing, and sharing with adolescents. I doubt they know to what extent they ignited a fresh, eager energy in my writing. It is my hope that by writing with a group of poets their own age, they created something they might not have created had they spent those two hours at home. I’m so thankful for the chance not only to teach them what I know, but to learn from them. I’ve learned to laugh more as I write, to look at a potato as if it were a sapphire, and to imagine myself as the sky, the rock, the tree, each longing to be the writer once again.

Casey Nichols, senior English major