The Plymouth Writing Project will launch a statewide celebration of poetry writing in New Hampshire’s secondary schools at Plymouth State University on February 11 as an introduction to the nationwide initiative, Celebrating Rural Poetry. The program will culminate May 8 at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., when a high school student chosen to represent New Hampshire will read original poems alongside United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.
Designed to provide educators with information about the Celebrating Rural Poetry initiative, as well as strategies specific to teaching place-conscious poetry writing, the February 11 event will preface a series of workshops to be presented at individual high schools throughout New Hampshire. These curriculum-intensive staff development presentations will take place throughout February and March. In addition to on-site training and curriculum resources, teachers who participate in Celebrating Rural Poetry will be eligible for in-class mentoring and electronic support in teaching place-based poetry writing. In April, exemplary poems written by up to 10 New Hampshire high school students will be selected to represent the state on a Web site maintained by the Rural School and Community Trust. One of these students will represent the state at the May 8 event.
The Celebrating Rural Poetry initiative, funded by the National Writing Project and the Rural School and Community Trust, is part of an effort to make rural poetry more visible, especially the poetry of rural young adults, and to encourage representation from diverse regions of the United States. The Plymouth Writing Project is one of six rural sites nationwide to be awarded grant funding to implement statewide training in service of this initiative. The program will be celebrated at Plymouth State University in September with a poetry reading given by participating secondary school students and teachers.
Participation in Celebrating Rural Poetry is free of charge and open to high school writing teachers throughout the state. Participants will receive a packet of materials including National Writing Project books. For more information, or to register for the February 11 workshop, please contact Elizabeth Jane Whittington, program coordinator and Plymouth Writing Project teacher consultant, at (603) 252-7177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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