Author in Residence program brings spoken word poetry to LS, MS

On Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22, two poets from Project VOICE, a nationally-renowned organization that seeks to educate, entertain, and inspire students with spoken-word poetry, visited USN as part of our annual Author in Residence program.
By Kate Pritchard, Library Director
Poets Sarah Kay and Adam Falkner from Project VOICE visited USN recently to share their program with lower and middle school students. Kay and Falkner performed for the entire Lower School and Middle School, sharing poetry about topics as varied as a school dance, a surprise encounter with a raccoon, and a toothbrush that has fallen in love with a bicycle tire. Students were enthralled, laughing and groaning in all the right places, and asked all kinds of engaging (and sometimes off-the-wall) questions.

Kay and Falkner also held workshops with every student in fourth and eighth grades, drawing out students’ thoughts and feelings and demonstrating ways to turn those ideas into poetry. Fourth Grade Teacher Skyler Moots ’07 said, "The students loved the workshop and came up with some very creative and clever poetry of their own. It was an awesome opportunity, and hopefully, it inspired students to write more poetry and express themselves in new ways."

Eighth Grade English Teacher Christine Park appreciated the tie-in to her own curriculum, saying, "It was so fun to see each student slowly warm up to the idea that they could write poetry. This was an amazing introduction to our spoken word unit at the end of the year, and I can't wait to see each student tell their story through verse."

Finally, Kay and Falkner gave a free workshop for educators after school on Thursday, March 21, which attracted not only many teachers from USN but also teachers from seven other schools around Nashville, including public, private, and charter schools. Participants learned useful techniques for incorporating poetry into their classes across a wide range of grade levels and helping students become more comfortable sharing their work aloud.

The Author in Residence program is an annual event sponsored jointly by the English Department and the Hassenfeld Library. We want to give a special thanks to Fall Book Frenzy for the funds it raises for the library every year, a large portion of which supports the Author in Residence program.

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University School of Nashville models the best educational practices. In an environment that represents the cultural and ethnic composition of Metropolitan Nashville, USN fosters each student’s intellectual, artistic, and athletic potential, valuing and inspiring integrity, creative expression, a love of learning, and the pursuit of excellence.