Poetry Week at Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High

May 2018

What do you get when you put 7 teaching poets in a high school? You get Poetry Week, that’s what.

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” ~ Emily Dickinson

The brainchild of Liberty Bell Junior/Senior High School’s English department, Poetry Week (May 7-11, 2018) is a celebration of the poetic voice–of the sounds, textures, patterns, and meanings of words. Through readings and workshops, the visiting poets help students hear and write the verbal music inherent in language.

Poetry fits into the Liberty Bell English curriculum not just because it is a vital component of the study of language, but also because it integrates with the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework. Poetry serves the IB Learner Profile in many ways. Of all literary forms, poetry is perhaps the one that most makes students ask questions, and be Inquirers. (What does this mean? Why did the poet choose those words? What is the effect?) Poetry encourages students to be Communicators, to express themselves confidently and creatively in many ways. When sharing poetry, students must listen carefully to the perspectives of other individuals. Writing poetry, sharing it, and performing it pushes students to be Risk Takers. It’s scary to bare your soul on a piece of paper; it can be terrifying to share it with others. But this process impels students into taking a risk, projecting confidence, and becoming resilient in the face of challenge. Conversely, this process also fosters Caring, as students must show empathy, compassion, and respect for their fellow classmates who are taking these risks. Poetry asks students to be Open Minded, with a critically appreciation for their own ideas as well as the values and ideas of others. And finally, poetry requires that students be Reflective, thoughtfully considering the world and their own ideas and experiences.

Poets visiting for Poetry Week include local teaching poets Crystal Bacon, Sam Lucy, and Kelleigh McMillan, as well as former WA State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall, GetLit teaching artist Dennis Held,  poet/playwrite Paul Nelson, and poet Judy Kleinberg.



Clockwise: Judy Kleinberg, Paul Nelson, Tod Marshall, Dennis Held



Left to right: Sam Lucy, Kelleigh McMillan, Crystal Bacon

Poetry Week is a collaboration between Methow Arts and the Liberty Bell English department, and is funded in part by the Public School Funding Alliance and Confluence Poets. Other sponsors include the Methow Valley Fund, the Methow Valley School District, Icicle Fund, the Robert B. McMillen Foundation, and ArtsWA.