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Wick Poetry Center News

Wick Juniors’ Writing Club: A Summer Well Spent

Posted Aug. 24, 2012
Wick Juniors Writing

It may be hard to believe at first, but some of the finest poets in Northeast Ohio are also some of the youngest. I know this because I spent my summer with them in the Wick Junior's Writing Club.

Every Wednesday, notebooks in hand, these young poets would gather on the lawn in front of Satterfield Hall and prepare to write poetry. Juniors—sure—but while these raconteurs may be pint-sized in stature, their dealings in verse are nothing short of extraordinary.

Nicole Robinson, program and outreach coordinator at the Wick Poetry Center, graduate fellow Jack Boyle, and my fellow interns, Ellie Shorey and Casey Nichols led poetry workshops to hone the creative talents that flood out of these young writers, while Mathias Peralta documented the writing process through a camera lens. We all agree that this was the best year of the program yet, and with good reason.

The Wick Juniors' Writing Club has expanded greatly since its inception. What started as five or six middle-schoolers writing together in the summer has evolved into twenty-five-plus children and teens ranging from elementary to high school age. This year, the Wick Juniors added a new feature to the program—inspirational writing fieldtrips. On one occasion, the Wick Juniors visited the Akron Nature Realm where they lounged beneath looming Elm trees, dug their bare feet into the grass, and concocted some wonderfully earthy landscape poems. The Wick Juniors also paid a visit to the Akron Art Museum, where students learned the meaning of ekphrastic poetry (writing inspired by a physical piece of art) and responded to pieces of abstract, pop, minimalistic, and classical art in their own creative ways, decorating the pages of their notebooks with verse as well as some of their own drawings. My favorite field trip, however, did not require us to leave the KSU campus. We took a short walk over to Kent's Geology Department located in McGilvrey Hall. Here, the students wrote poems based on observations of rocks, dirt, fossils, and crystals, giving life to the common pebble. "How does it feel to have dirt on your back? How does it feel beneath a glass case?" one poet so eloquently asked of a fossil.

As writers, we learn to recognize those moments in life when we simply must write. I believe I witnessed some of these young poets experience this kind of moment for the first time—I saw the proverbial light bulb flicker on above their heads. Though we know we have little control over when our own light bulb burns brightest, we also know we can nurture that spark in others through encouragement, and I feel that is the ultimate goal and result of The Wick Juniors' Writing Club—to encourage young poets' passion for the writing process, to let them burn bright.

I think I learned as much as, if not more than, these young poets this summer. I can't wait to see how this program evolves in the future as the Wick Juniors' Writing Club continues to expand, enriching the poetry community and encouraging young voices.

--Ashton Kamburoff, Wick intern