This is the response from Catholic Central High School. This was sent to me by the school after five poets laureate from across the country accompanied me to a Grade 10 class. These were truly amazing students. Here is how they responded:
Brief anecdotal observations on each poet’s presentation and comments from the students:
John B. Lee – Students loved that he discussed challenges and that these were worth writing about. The topic of nature was refreshing for the students as they realized that they could write about such topics and it be a worthy subject.
Roger Nash – Students loved his Cricket poem! They loved the structure along with his focus on family memories.
Liz Zetlin: – Her focus on various poetry structures intrigued our students. Her interest in historical events and landscapes was interesting to the students.
Hugh MacDonald – Students loved that he began by telling them “Write about what you know.” His sincerity about some of his life struggles had a profound impact on our students. It validated some of their own experiences.
Bruce Meyer – Kids are still talking about the miracles he encountered. The story about his daughter was very touching and the students were provided a rare opportunity to read and study a poem and then have the poet discuss the history and premise of the poem.
Marty Gervais – Students loved his superstitions. They really enjoyed his candid discussion about writing. They found him encouraging and inspirational.
The class reaction. Overall, the class thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Poetry came alive as they were provided with the opportunity to study the works and then witness the poet provide the reading. Furthermore, the chance to connect with them and ask them questions about their poem and their experience writing provided them with a solid foundation for their own writing.
Age appropriateness of the material. Perfect!
Did the poets relate well to the class; are there any comments from the students you wish to share? Yes, extremely! Students gave up their lunch to spend time with the poets. They are thrilled that Marty will return to CCH in December to follow-up.
It was truly an enriching experience. Students were prepared for the visit and continue to use the visit as reference points for their own writing.
“Visiting with the poets was an amazing experience and I am overjoyed that I could be a part of it. Listening to them tell their life stories and talk about their poems made me realize they are just like us. They are open-minded people and are learning everyday, just like us.” – Tela
“The most interesting part of the visit was when I got the chance to talk to them individually and get their perspective on things.” – Aide
“My assumption was definitely wrong for the stereotypes of poets…They were hilarious and very knowledgeable …….” -Kyle
Congratulations, Marty, for all you do for Canadian poetry – especially reaching out to young minds! PS: Vancouver and Victoria have had a few gatherings of Poet Laureates — Eg. George McWhirter & George Bowering etc., or Candice James – New Westminster with recent Van. laureate, etc. These crowned heads of poetry really do attract attention. Bravo!