(Right to left, Debbie Szabo, Rhina Espaillat, me and high school students from the Newburyport area.)
Last night I dined on Poetry Soup!
Run by Debbie Szabo, she brings together students from Newburyport High School and other surrounding high schools for an evening of poetry and good conversation at Jabberwocky Bookshop.
First of all, these students are tremendously talented. Some have even participated in Louder than a Bomb MA poetry slam competitions. They are poised and can riff on the spot. I was so impressed that I did something I normally don't do: rather than reading from a set list of poems, I asked for random topics and read poems that fit the topics. Sorry, no cat poems in my collections. Cows and flies, yes!
These students also created--I think they created, haven't heard of this anywhere else--the "Haiku Slam." Poets are given a topic, and they have to create Haiku on the spot. Here are two of mine. Can't remember exactly what I said but they went something like this ...
Leaf in my pocket
Yellow maple a small hand
A gift from my girl
And on sports:
Red Sox Haiku
No more Valentine
Sox acquire John Farrell
Time to sign Ortiz
OK, hard to create out of thin air but it was fun trying. It was really kinda cool. After, there was a Q & A with some of the most thoughtful questions I've received from an audience.
Rhina Espaillat is affectionately known as "the Grandmother of Poetry Soup." She comes every month to support poetry in the community.
Upcoming poets include Amanda Torres, Alfred Nicol, John Hofstra, Jamele Adams, Simone Beaubien, Richard Wollman, Nicole Rodriguez, Febo (and maybe some of the Free Verse slam team), Elizabeth Thomas, and Valerie Lawson.
Hats off to Debbie and the students! Nice work!