By Elizabeth Rivera
Most people tend to break into a sweat if asked to write a poem. The word "poetry" may brings up images of beatniks dressed in black, snapping fingers to abstract haikus -or worse, memories of deciphering Shakespearean sonnets in high school. But students who have taken the poetry class taught by John McDowell in the English department have a very different response.
Yes, they have to write poetry. No, it isn't painful. Well, maybe just a little. Poetry is, after all, an art. It is about conveying what is in your heart to an audience. Students have to get in touch with their feelings at least a little bit, but that doesn't mean their poems have to be about how their cat Snuffy died in second grade. Poems can be about standing in line at the caf staring at your crush's head and hoping they'll turn around. They can be about watching the grape vines change colors, or about sitting at your laptop feeling sure that you are not a great poet. Any subject can be explored through poetry, and PUC's poetry class help's students discover their inner poet and gives them the tools to express themselves.
Class size is limited so each student gets personalized attention. Contemporary poetry is studied (i.e. read). Student poems are work-shopped (read as a group and then told how fabulous they are and yes, occasionally where a little editing might help).
Jeff Gleaves, who is currently in the class, says, "It gives me a chance to look at different poetry and appreciate it. It helps me appreciate other people's good poetry and teaches me that, while I may not be great at, it I can do it." The main thing to remember is what Paige Worstell, sophomore, so eloquently said about her poetry class: "It's fun."
That's the one thing every person in the class says without fail - that it's fun. So the next time you find yourself with the urge to write a sonnet, haiku or any form of poetry, consider yourself in good company.
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