Saturday, September 24, 2011

Poetry as a Mixed Media Enterprise

Students at Combs Elementary looking at images as they read & listen to poetry
 Yesterday at Combs Elementary School in St. Louis County, Missouri, we coordinated an audio exhibit featuring poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Margaret Walker, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, and Sonia Sanchez, and photographs of the poets by Eugene B. Redmond. Our exhibit also included audio devices that made it possible for students to listen to the poets reading their works.

We have added background music to the audio recordings of the poets reading. Our long-term contributor Al Henderson - a walking encyclopedia of everything from blues and jazz all the way through and past rap - provided the instrumentals. Almost every time we host an exhibit, you'll notice a few young people dancing as they listen to the readings.

The school's principal and a student viewing & listening to poetry

It's been an enjoyable experience presenting poetry as a mixed media enterprise to the young people and college students over the last year. The 6th graders at our event yesterday were inclined to read the poetry, listen to it, and view photographic images. Having those multiple options was certainly helpful for such a lively group. The poems, recordings, and photographs as well as the movements required to stop by the various display were vital for the overall experience.

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