In-school Student Day of Poetry at
Billerica Memorial High School
Friday, February 13, 2015

On Friday, Feb 13 poetry will be taking over Billerica Memorial High School! These twelve poets will share their poetry before leading all freshmen and juniors in writing-generative workshops. Check out the workshops below, and click on a poet's name to read his or her bio and poem.

writing generative workshops

Visual Poetry
MP Carver

In this workshop, we’ll look at poems that deliberately use some visual aspect (layout, images, or video) to achieve their effect.  We’ll look at more experimental examples of video poetry, concrete poetry, and visual poetry, as well as more conventional poems, with a focus on contemporary poetry.  We’ll also have a chance to make some visual poetry of our own and to think about the way we can use the visual dimension of poetry to add to our work.  No prior experience with poetry is required, but students who have written poetry previously are encouraged to bring a piece or two, and we may take a look at them, time allowing.

Jump Starting Your Writing and Telling Your Inner Voice to Shut Up
Timothy Gager

Do you believe in writers block? I don't, because even though you may have heard all about it, writers block only exists if you want it to. It's all about FEAR! Today's workshop will demonstrate how to work with prompts, either pictures or words, and what's the best way to workshop. 

The Unlettered Muse: Poetry and the Creative Mind
Regie Gibson

This will be a lively writing workshop for those of you who want to write without all the rules you never wanted to learn anyway. By using both surrealist and structured techniques, like we will peep under the left and right sides of the brain and see what peeps back.

Make Them Laugh, Make Them Cry
Joey Gould

One thing poetry does is allow us to tell our stories to others so they can understand how we feel. This workshop will investigate what makes both funny and serious poems feel both original and real.

Here Be Dragons: Fantastic Poetry
Heather Hughes

Once upon a time, sea monsters and dragons marked strange territories on explorers’ maps. Dragons also wreak havoc in our oldest surviving English poem, Beowulf. These fantastic monsters, along with their many mythic cousins, represented then-unknown realities — and they appear still in our poetry today. “Unreal things,” wrote the poet Wallace Stevens, “have a reality of their own.” Poetry and myth are some of the first human tools for understanding ourselves and the world around us. In this workshop, we’ll read poems that use the fantastic and the unreal in a variety of ways to explore reality and the self, and we’ll write our own poetic flights of fantasy. 

The Fearless Writing and Speaking Poetry Workshop
Neiel Israel

This is a fun, two part creative workshop.  Poets will write several short poems that reflect his or her own interest(s). Poets will read at least one of their poems on the Open-Mic, and will be encouraged to show respect and support for other fellow poets.

Great News!
Jennifer Jean

“It is difficult/ to get the news from poems,” wrote poet William Carlos Williams, “Yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there.” In this workshop we’re going to make it easy for folks to get the news from poems—we’re going to write our own “poem-responses” to items featured in the global news! Not only will you learn about free-verse-poetry-writing-basics in this workshop (about how to write poems containing:  potent language, vivid imagery and powerful lines), we’ll also discuss example poem-responses, various approaches to the poem-response, as well as the biggest news items of the day.

Poetry like Graffiti
Hannah Larrabee

The street artist known as Banksy says, “graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.” Well, so is poetry. In this workshop, we’ll work on found poetry prompted by words, images, news, etc. Think of the blank page as a blank wall: we’re here to make something of it. In the end it doesn’t matter if the poem never exists beyond the classroom. It is something created out of thin air, and it is yours.   

“No Ideas But In Things”
Jennifer Martelli

We are surrounded by “things” everyday:  deep in our junk drawers, deep in our hearts.  Bring something with you--the pencil you used when you aced that test, the spare earring, the baseball--and let’s weave the everyday with the magical.  Let’s let these objects take “dominion everywhere,” and mingle with the stars.  We’ll look at some poems that make this happen.  And then we’ll write.

What Can Poetry Do?
Amy Mevorach

Does it soothe, excite, comfort, connect, and/or make you laugh? Does it express emotions? Does it teach, motivate, tell a story? Does it highlight beauty or contrasts between dark and light? Seek truth? Drape a mysterious veil? Rend the veils? Does it ask questions? Let’s make some poetry together and then sit back and feel what it does.

Love is a Potato: The Art of Metaphor
J.D. Scrimgeour

If hate were a train, would you ride on it? If joy were a salad, would you serve it? In this workshop we will practice using metaphor to explore emotions.

It's A Hard Knock Life "For Us": Writing From Personal Experience
Enzo Silon Surin

Ever wondered what Jay-Z meant by “it’s a hard knock life”? Sometimes the difficult moments we experience in life are often the hardest to write about. Ever wondered why? Ever wondered what would happen if these stories never get told? In this workshop, we will discuss clear, safe and effective ways to write poems from personal experience.