On Tuesday, January 19, several of our PJA poets joined with middle school and high school poets from the San Diego and Los Angeles Jewish Communities to celebrate young voices. They were featured as part of the Jewish Poets - Jewish Voices series sponsored by the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla. Each year, one of the programs celebrates the voices of young writers. So, why was this year’s student reading different from all others? Thanks to a very close connection between a PJA teacher and an organizer of the event, we received an invitation to participate. And thanks to Zoom, physical distance could not keep these young poets from connecting, celebrating, and overcoming a few jitters to read their original poems in the company of 75 eager listeners.
Here are some reflections from three of our featured seventh-grade poets:
When I was presenting my poem, I was so scared because there were so many people there watching me! But as I started reading, I relaxed and I realized why people just go up and read their poetry in front of people. It's inspiring. One of the poems that stuck with me was from the open mic. It was a poem that someone wrote about being a poll worker. It told me not to assume anything about anyone, no matter how they act. It was an inspiring yet very surprising poem.
I will remember this event because it was the first time I read at a poetry reading.
I will remember hearing different people write about the same thing and how their opinions are similar or different. I thought it was going to be a bit more formal, but I was happy that it wasn’t and it took some weight off my shoulders. Hearing how long other people’s poems were inspired me to think about writing longer poems.
Click here for all the poems by our PJA participating students.
*Special thanks to Harriet Wingard, Middle School Humanities Teacher, for this Spotlight.