Heads up, Young Writers! The Cape Cod Writers Center is focusing on YOU in May and this coming August. What’s really neat is the level of inspiration and professional guidance you as a young writer will be exposed to through these opportunities. But how do you do this, you say…firstly, go to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about registration/times/fees. The ‘Tomorrow’s Writers Today’ workshop on May 19th is FREE but you must apply ahead of the date, of course. The 2012 YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP on August 6-10 is tagged with a $35 fee but no one will be turned away for an inability to pay (That’s how much encouraging emerging writers is important to that group.). I know there are a lot of fantastic teachers during the school year who support all kinds of writing by their students…but that’s school. Get out there and log into the ‘real world’ outside of the school comfort zone, too. The Writers’ Center’s programs are a GREAT way to do that. And, in the meantime, may the odds be ever in your favor.
“Why is Poetry like Twinkies?” Answer: “Because they both have an extremely long shelf life.” Obviously, I made that one up myself. The PS2012 competition was held last night at the East Sandwich Grange. As always, a great group of poets, judges, audience, fans and poetical atmosphere. This year two SHS students were part of the judges’ panel – Sam Bavelock and Cory Warren. Sam presented a poem to start, and Cory presented a poem at half time. Wow for the poems. I am so curious why SHS is not fielding more poets for activities like the teen poet slams. It’s a loss, I think. At any rate, one poet from Sandwich (private school) and three from Barnstable High brought music to words. Power, humor, sarcasm, strong words, tender words, questioning words, performance…we are blessed in small numbers this year. Thank you to the Friends of the Sandwich Public Library, Michael & Alice Baker, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod for their support of this event. And to our judges: Sam, Cory, Christine Rathbun (you go, FACB!), Mark Wiklund, and Nancy Rubin Stuart. Lauren Robinson, famous in her own right as supporter of literary arts, was our scorekeeper.
Is it time to discontinue the PoetSpeak? I think so. My mission was to entice teens to take on poetry as a power tool or rather empower tool. With the help of the likes of Adam Stone, Kirsten Knowles, Greg Hischak, Christine Rathbun, teacher Meg Gayton, former SHS Librarian Deb O’Brien….bits of poetry happened, not in a big way but still in an amazing way. I think with the amount of monetary support that has been provided for the past few PSs, perhaps the monies should support more in entirety getting Poets in front of teens so the Poets can draw out that Inner Poet that lurks in all of us (Yes, all of us….). In slams the points are not the point but the poem is the point. So, while I would love to have a HUGE turnout for events like PoetSpeak, I am more inclined at this point to put efforts towards culturing, nurturing, exciting, promoting the Teen Poet in any way possible. You are not a teen forever, duh, and, like the Twinkie, poetry has an extremely long shelf life, so if you start now….you’ll have that TwinkiePoet attitude forever.
May the odds be ever in your favor.
Hype being what it is, I (as a pretty good judge of books) support the Hunger Games trilogy as good storytelling and writing. I met the author, Suzanne Collins, in 2010 at a small gathering at the New England Independent Booksellers offices, Boston, when Mockingjay was released. Fascinated by her description of the coversations her armed services career Dad and she would have about greek mythology, ancient battles and just the idea of in depth family discussions between parent and child, my sense of the author behind the stories was heightened. I viewed the movie inpretation of The Hunger Games twice just to make sure I got my sense of screen adaptation in proper perspective. I’m calm with the screenplay, missing some of the details or ‘changes’ to the story, but generally OK with the result. So, back to the hype….just like Harry Potter, the Twilight series and ???, readers as young as 8 years old say, “I want to read this book!” My little librarian’s heart sighs when this happens. Why? Why NOT instant gratification? Well, my personal reaction to the triology is this: THESE ARE POLITICAL BOOKS, PEOPLE! filled with a unique storyline, fully realized characters and truly, TRULY HUGE ETHICAL situations. An 8 year old getting carried away because kids get to play real survivor games? What fun? I think not. I have a good friend – the grandmother – who bought Mockingjay for her 8 year old granddaughter because she wanted it (and books are good, right?). No, I would not chastise anyone for buying a book, but, just like wine (That’s an ancient reference only some of us will get.) to paraphrase – ‘Read no book before its time.’ The beauty of those conversations that Suzanne and her father had were that they set an informed stage and opportunity for the young person to test reaction and thought to historical or literary situations. Reading books can do that, too, but it is subsequent query and dialogue that really create a fully realized reaction to the book/story. So, the FACT, that parents are also reading this trilogy gives families opportunities to gather together for their own ‘training’ of young minds when it comes to discussing why a book is read and what is its impact on us. I am attaching a portion of an interview with Suzanne Collins and Scholastic where she is asked, “What age do you think these books are suited to…?” You will appreciate her response, I think. In the meantime, read AND talk with someone about what you’ve read. If nothing else, reading the Hunger Games trilogy will sharpen your senses towards perspective and hidden agendas. May the odds be ever in your favor, of course.
PS: I do not take myself THAT seriously.