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Two weeks ago, Borton Magnet School had a special visit from author Kate Bernheimer as part of the Poetry Center’s Matinee series that brings local writers into area schools. The students had been waiting for her visit, prepping by reading and writing poetry based on Bernheimer’s books for the past month. The students came with a list of questions for Bernheimer including “Where do you write?” “Do you make the pictures?” “Where do you get your ideas?” “Who is Xia?” Bernheimer answered their questions and read to them from a class favorite, The Girl Who Wouldn’t Brush Her Hair. Together, the Aloha and Earth rooms discussed the process of making the story with its author, who told them that she had gotten to read their class poems before coming to visit.
What happened to the pint-sized pig who ran across a sleeping cat?
How does a baby t-rex feel about his condensed version of Alice in Wonderland?
What does a mini panda bear scaling a California orange have to do with poetry?
This week, as part of the Poetry Center’s Matinee series that brings writers to local schools, I had the opportunity to visit Borton Elementary, (thanks to teachers Kathleen Edgars and Caroline Castrillo Pinto who hosted the residency), where the tiny characters pictured above got to mingle with a group of first grade students who jumped head first into writing activities inspired by the work of Kate Bernheimer.
The tiny creatures here were part of a lesson plan that I developed with the help of my colleagues at the Poetry Center. The lesson was one focused on entering into the perspective of something minuscule through writing. One that mirrored some of the motifs found in Bernheimer's children's stories.
The Poetry Center’s Matinee program now brings poetry readings to schools. Local poets and authors, in addition to poets who have traveled to Tucson to participate in the Poetry Center’s Reading Series, are available to read and discuss their writing with middle and high school students. More than 1000 writers have read or lectured in the series, including most major contemporary U.S. poets, significant international visitors, and emerging artists. The following poets are available for upcoming visits.
Spring 2013 semester: Rebecca Seiferle, Tucson Poet Laureate, author of four books of poetry, and translator of Cesar Vallejo. Read her work here and here.
Fall 2013 semester: Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning, winner of the Yale Younger Series Poets Prize. Read his work here.
To reserve a matinee performance by one of the poets above, contact Renee Angle at email@example.com. Please include the name of the poet you are interested in hosting, your school name and grade, and subject you teach. Interested teachers and schools are served on a first come, first serve basis. Each poet will make one visit to one school. Most poet visits are ideal for middle and high school groups. For more infomation, please visit our Matinee page.
Did you know that Tucson's own Mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, is also an accomplished poet? Now's your chance to bring your students and hear him read from his work at our Matinee Performance on Friday, October 19th from 12:30-1:30pm.
Matinee performances are designed to make poets and writers accessible to middle and high school audiences. Many of the readers who participate in our matinee program also read in our reading series.
Teachers and students are invited to attend our matinee performances which are held on select Fridays. Matinee performances are underwritten by the Friends of the Poetry Center and are FREE to school groups. To reserve seats for a matinee performance, contact Renee Angle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lesson plans, poem packets, and other resources are available for teachers to use in their classrooms! We highly recommend pre-teaching the work of these poets prior to attending a matinee performance. Click here for writing exercises based on Mayor Rothschild's poetry collection, The Last Clubhouse Eulogy.