Creative writing class hosts annual poetry cafe

MEGAN HUBER

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At every midterm and final, the creative writing class gathers together in their poetry cafe in room 913 and read poems they’ve written during the semester to their classmates.

The poetry cafe creates insight for those in the class to understand at a different depth the things running in their classmates mind.

The gathering begins in a semicircle, eating food they’ve all brought for their cafe’s menu. After everyone shares two of the poems they’ve written in class, the remainder of the time is then open up to allow everyone to share anything additional poems they have written. By sharing such personal thoughts, the classmates begin to feel more like a family.

Senior Natalie Roberts loves being able to see the class fortify and unite together from their poems.

“It’s different each year with the different classes and the different people. The atmosphere is always vaguely the same, it’s just very supportive. I do think that when certain people get up and read poems that are really close to their heart or really emotional, then it really shifts the mood in the room and all of a sudden everyone is paying close attention and supporting each other and it’s really nice [to have],” Roberts said.

Many, like Roberts, have never thought to write poetry, but after it became an assignment, they fell in love with the idea. In a sense, it became sanative for them, and the poetry cafe was a reassurance that what they were feeling was okay.

Teacher Mrs. Handling feels that the safety net of her classroom makes the poetry cafe, and ultimately creative writing class successful at RHS.

“I just love the the safety that the kids feel in that environment. I have kids who cry, I have kids who laugh, I have kids who are angry, and the fact that they are so willing to put themselves out there in front of their peers is such a compliment to the environment of the class and it’s not because of me. These kids create their own environment in there, and they have become a family and it just reinforces that notion that creative writing as a whole can bring people together who never ever thought that they would ever be around each other in a normal setting,” Handling said.

Senior Jonna Giorgi uses the cafe as a way to check in with everyone, and grow their relationship.

“I really like how you can really put your feelings out onto the paper. It’s just like drawing except it makes more sense [and] it can help you understand the inner mechanisms of your fellow classmates and help you make sure you know how they’re feeling. [It] helps you realize there are some troubles inside your classmates mind that you’ve just got to be aware of,” Giorgi said.

Junior Amy Santana, however, sees the bond creative writing shares and applies it, not only to her other classes at RHS, but also to the world beyond the gates.

“I think a lot of the reason bullying and stuff like that is an issue is because people just don’t have that level of understanding. There’s a lot of disconnect between people and their lives so I think if that was applied more and there was just a more basic understanding of like, ‘people go through things,’ then there would be a lot of issues that would be resolved or avoided,” Santana said.

As the school year comes to a close, and seniors head on to graduation and college, Handling is grateful for the love she has gained for her students through the years.

“I just think it’s such a great way to celebrate everything that these kids are accomplishing and I’m just so proud of them,” Handling said.