Eighth graders published in book of poetry

Post date: Mar 22, 2017 2:20:12 PM

The great poet Robert Frost once stated, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” At Wells Junior High School “thought” definitely found words for a group of English students who recently had their poetry published in a book titled, Out of the Egg; Poems from Wells Junior High School.

Sponsored in part by the Telling Room, a non-profit writing center in Portland, this book project was the culmination of a 12-week poetry class/workshop begun last October and taught by local poet and teacher in residency, Brian Evans-Jones. In the United Kingdom, Mr. Evans-Jones was once Hampshire County Council’s Hampshire Poet.

“My main goal for this residency was for the students to learn how poems are not prose: chiefly, how they are built of lines, rather than sentences,” commented Evan-Jones in writing about his experience at WJHS. He later added, “The result was a really great book.”

On March 10th, Evan-Jones, English teacher Julie Esch, and Esch’s block 3 of 18 students held a book release party or celebration in the school’s library. At first, students sat around tables and participated in one final poetry workshop followed by what is called “The Sharing”, a time for the newly published poets to stand and read their selections to parents and others present.

Esch, who worked with Evans-Jones in the poetry class, commented, “Listening to student poets read their own words is captivating. Their intonation, inflection, and passion add so much to the written pieces. This is a great experience for our 8th graders.”

Topics of poems in the book ranged greatly. One student, Andrew Mott, chose to compose a very personal poem about his father who passed away when Andrew was much younger. Mott, whose poem is titled Separations, said he enjoyed learning from Evans-Jones. “I liked the ways Brian used to get our ideas out there,” said Mott the only seventh grade student in the poetry class.

WJHS Principal Robert Griffin was also present for the celebration. “This is one of the best things I have seen,” said Principal Griffin about this class. “This is something our students talk about as a wonderful experience. So we are going to broaden it, open it up to more students.”

Nick Shuller, The Telling Room’s program director, brought copies of the book to the party to distribute to the students. “All of us, I think, have a desire for a creative expression and at The Telling Room we help young people get that out.” Prior to the book release event these students read aloud their published selections at The Telling Room. These readings were recorded and can be heard on the Sound Cloud website at: soundcloud.com/tellingroom.

According to Esch, this is the second year that WJHS has collaborated with The Telling Room. The Telling Room works primarily with those ages 6-18 to develop skills and confidence with various writing genres including poetry. For more information visit tellingroom.org.

In a round circle called “The Sharing” are junior high students reading their own poetry from a book published by The Telling Room titled Out of the Egg; Poems from Wells Junior High School.

WJHS student and poet Garner Holdsworth with his parents in a poetry workshop at a book release celebration at WJHS on March 10th.

The cover of Out of the Egg; Poems from Wells Junior High School