WJHS students have poems published in anthology

Post date: Jun 01, 2016 8:48:24 PM

Six, eighth-grade students at Wells Junior High School have recently become published authors by having selections of their poetry published in The Telling Room’s 10th Anthology: Once; 40 Stories and Poems About Time, a collection of work that ponders the concept of time itself. The Telling Room is a nonprofit writing center in Portland, Maine that holds workshops for writers ages 6 to 18 and conducts an annual writing contest in Maine.

According to ELA teacher Julie Esch, the full story about this originated months ago. “This fall, a group of 8th-grade students worked with Telling Room staff in an in-school residency, twice a week for 3 months crafting poems around various themes. Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, currently Portland's Poet Laureate, led the writing sessions, which proved to be a really incredible experience for all of us. At the end of the residency, six students were asked to continue to rework their pieces for possible publication in the annual anthology,” summed up Esch.

“Imagine our surprise and delight when all six ended up being chosen for publication! I can't speak highly enough of Gibson, the Telling Room staff, and the dedicated student writers,” remarked Esch.

According to their mission statement, the Telling Room “…is dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. We believe that the power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for future success.”

On May 12th, all six were honored at the Telling Room’s annual Big Night event held at Hannaford Hall on the University of Southern Maine’s campus. The Wells students signed autographs in the anthology books of others and received free copies of the book for themselves.

The anthology Once will be available for sale in local bookstores and online at the tellingroom.org/store. To hear poems from the WJHS students, visit: http://soundcloud.com/tellingroom. All proceeds from the sale of the anthology support free writing programs for Maine youth.

WJHS students from left to right are Katie Plourde, Jordan Belanger, Matt Riegel, teacher Julie Esch, Alexis Howes, Brian Roberts, and Wyatt Rowe