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Young Poets Present Works at Barnes & Noble Slam

Red Cluster sixth-grade student, Joel Anderson, holds a copy of his

original poem; "The Garden".

While writing poetry, itself, is not always a snap, students from Stacy Middle School were in receipt of many "snaps" of appreciation at a recent Poetry Slam, held at the Bellingham Barnes and Noble book store.

"In keeping with the spirit of the true poetry slam," sixth-grader, Zach Costa, informed the audience, "Please show your appreciation for the poets ... by snapping your fingers instead of clapping."

Costa, was charged with both opening and closing remarks, as parents, friends and other interested parties gathered in the Barnes and Noble Cafe area to hear original works from approximately forty young poets from the Red Cluster 5th and 6th grade classes.

"They're going to be reciting their original works from what they've written all year," explained Patricia Kelley, a fifth-grade language arts teacher at Stacy. "All year, we've done poetry units where they've talked about figurative language. They get to choose which original poem they would like to share."

The Poetry Slam, held on June 7, was in conjuction with the Milford Public Schools three-day Book-Fair fundraiser which provided Milford families with an opportunity to purchase materials for the mandatory Summer Reading Program. A portion of the sales proceeds were donated to the Milford public schools. This is the second year that the fair has been held at Barnes and Noble.

The Milford public schools require that all students read a selected book over the summer months and complete several assignments relating to the required reading. In addition, students are encouraged to continue their summer reading beyond the required book and are provided with a list of other summer reading titles.

The percentage of the proceeds from the fair, donated by Barnes and Noble, serve a dual purpose. "It helps us pay for the next year's book fair," Kelley explained, adding that "What we love about this is we're able to put ... books in the hands of some of our students who wouldn't have summer reading books. We want everybody reading during the summer."

In addition to his opening and closing remarks, Zach Costa was first to present an original poem, entitled "Pillows". When asked where the idea originated, he calmly stated, "From my bed." Though he admitted that poetry writing can be difficult, because "sometimes you don't have an idea," he added, "there's a lot of resources you can use".

Topics for the original poems were varied. Several students offered odes to family pets, including cats, lizards, guinea pigs and a would-be-pet turtle, which one student had "found" in his travels. His poem lamented the fact that he had to return the animal to its natural habitat.

Sports teams also figured prominently, with the Boston Bruins hockey team a popular choice. Unique topics such as a "castle-red shirt", "beach bag", "talent show" and "an ode to money" joined perennial favorites such as "summer and a "snowman" as subject matter for the poems.

Joel Anderson, explained the origin of his 12-line poem, "The Garden". "Mrs. Roy was doing metaphor poems with us and I decided to do a garden, because there are a lot of things that sort of represent my family ... in the garden." He then proceeded to offer the following:


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