At the recent Nepali Lunch Fundraiser, New Horizons students read poetry that they had written during English class taught by NHEP teacher, Kari Giroux. The poems were beautiful, raw and articulate. More than one person in the lunch audience was in tears. Kari and her students are pleased to share their work with a wider audience.
Below Kari explains more about the project:
“In Social Studies we spent some time exploring how generations get their names (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials, etc.) We talked about the difference between individual personal experiences and collective cultural ones. Students understood that in terms of our own identities, our collective and personal experiences influence who we are as people.
Because we were working on a Poetry unit in English class, I decided to have students write Where I’m From poems (based on the structure of George Ella Lyon’s poem). I chose this project to have students contemplate some of their childhood influences and to recognize the difference between the things in our lives that we choose, versus the things we do not choose. The format also provides a structure to shape the tone of the poem in a variety of ways. Our lives are complex and no matter how difficult our lives have been, there are usually memories or details of beauty or positive experiences. Likewise, no matter how positive our lives have been there are also difficult, ugly experiences. Most students chose details to reflect a spectrum of experiences—the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.
Students really enjoyed the project and had fun trying to pull details from their childhoods and teen years. They also enjoyed the shift in the poem (that I added) in which they considered details about their own agency—choices they have made that will change the direction of their lives and details about what kinds of memories they wanted their own children to have. The students seemed pleased by the end results and empowered by their visions for their future selves. I was pleased that most students wanted to share their poems with a larger audience, as reading one’s work aloud really completes the experience—We don’t typically write merely to fill the space on the page. Writers need an audience; either readers or listeners, to fully experience the power of their words.”
You can read these poems here: