Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Poetry Pantry: A Partnership in Promoting Service

Janine Harrison
On Saturday, February 23rd, First Friday Wordsmiths (FFW), the student creative writing organization at Purdue University Calumet, and Books, Brushes, and Bands for Education (BBB4E), a not-for-profit children's organization for the literary, visual, and musical arts, will co-host its fourth annual creative writing workshop for children and adults. The event is open to the public.
"Poetry Pantry: An Open Hand is an Open Heart--A Day of Poetry for Social Change," which will take place in Purdue University Calumet's Student Union Building, includes two morning workshops, lunch, an afternoon workshop, and an open mic presentation in the Y Jean Chambers theater.
According to Michelle Golden, Director of BBB4E, "Anyone who is interested in poetry has the opportunity to come with a friend or make a friend there. I see the students who enjoy writing have a way to express themselves by truly concentrating on the process while they are engaged during the workshop. They have the chance to complete a piece and get immediate, one-on-one feedback not only from an instructor but by the audience who may hear the finished written work if the participant so chooses to personally present their writing on the intimate stage at Y Jean Chambers." Golden continued, "This opportunity could be a pinnacle moment for a child--either as a performer or audience member by enjoying the work of a peer or potentially a parent who might be participating in the adult section. I think that it is very powerful to have a child watch their parent create, perform and be involved in the process of their own self-discovery. It then demonstrates lifelong learning and the importance of giving yourself permission to explore beyond the formative years. This realization may not be immediately understood by a child, but the memory of it may plant an important seed and certainly form a different kind of bond between a child and a parent."
The first two years, the workshop, which is led by FFW student and faculty members, focused upon poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, serving children from second grade to senior year of high school. Last year, the focus narrowed to poetry exclusively and over 100 pounds of dry and canned food goods were collected to donate to a local food pantry. An adult workshop was also added. The workshop will continue with the same format this year, while adding a "poetry as agent of social change" theme, and setting a higher collection goal--of 200 pounds of food to donate. Unlike the past three years, in which children have been divided into group by age, participants will register to attend three workshops whose titles and descriptions most interest them. The adult workshop, however, will remain 18 and older. Children's poetry will then be sent to the Indiana Kids' Magazine for possible publication.
The cost, which covers materials and lunch, is $20 per participant and $15 for each additional family member. Participants are also asked to bring a non-perishable food item for donation.
For registration information, please call 219-932-3232.

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