Poetry Friday: The Common Gathering

Posted on by Rebecca Gambale

Last Saturday, over 100 teachers from all over New Jersey came together at Princeton Day School for the culminating event of our poetry exploration sessions series, Giving Voice. The day is unlike any other professional development for teachers; it is a day to think deeply about what poetry means to each individual and how it affects one’s whole life, not just one’s teaching life. It is a non-academic day to explore and simply to be in the presence of poetry with like-minded peers.

The energy was high from the first moments of the day, and this enthusiasm was brought to sessions led by Dodge Poets on a wide variety of topics. The featured poet for the day was Gregory Orr. A gracious and generous reader, Orr told the audience that a powerful teacher had saved his life, and immediately acknowledged the gathering of educators as “his ideal audience.” (Psst…Orr will also be a Main Stage Festival Poet at the 2012 Festival if you weren’t able to see him last Saturday!)

Here are some highlights from the day (all photography by Lauren Rutten Photography):

Teachers are given a varied packet of poems for reading aloud in Giving Voice groups.

In small discussion groups, teachers shared their feelings about poems
from the packet, or poems that they have brought to share.

Participants took part in small group sessions in the form of conversations or writing activities. Here we see teachers incorporating yoga into writing about travel and place.

Featured reader Gregory Orr connects with the audience
in his first reading of two, in which he read his own work.

Orr’s second reading is of poems by others that matter to him.

Books by Gregory Orr and Dodge Poets were on sale at a discounted price so that teachers could add to their collections.

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