Eat enough batter to make me sick
Damn… Forgot the frosting
Price Chopper – frosting and sprinkles
Print sign-in sheet for readers
Arrive at BCAC. On-street parking: score
Set up refreshments
Carry up equipment and anthologies
Go get coffee from Starbucks
I’ve been in Binghamton for over a year and still don’t know the short cuts
Text message reads, “Are you almost here?” –Heather, other intern
Bite my cuticles in panic as I circle the block like an idiot looking for the parking garage entrance
Five minutes to spare, the room is packed and…
I’ve got front row seats to the best show in Binghamton
This past Friday was a presentation of all the work that has gone into the Binghamton Poetry Project this semester – by participants, instructors, and interns alike. Everything we have done up to this point was in preparation for the final reading and it felt like an achievement to see the room fill to standing room only.
My always supportive boyfriend and a handful of friends made it, which melted my heart. But what meant even more to me was to finally meet the participants I’ve been e-mailing all semester. I envisioned many of them (with no accuracy) and seeing them and hearing them read was a great experience. Hearing someone read their poetry is so different than reading it myself; it takes on a whole new voice and meaning. It’s also nice to have that face-to-face conversation with someone you’ve grown to adore via e-mail.
The slideshow made me tear up, I’ll admit it. Many of the photos and videos of elementary and teen workshops were taken by me. I attended elementary workshops and shadowed Director Abby Murray, and co-instructed teen workshops with Assistant Director Heather Dorn. My studies at Binghamton University are geared toward journalism, so I haven’t been able to work with my love of poetry in a couple years. I still wrote here and there, in my bath tub and on solo lunch dates. But having that sense of involvement and working with other people’s poetry filled some sort of void for me. Something magical happens when you put a bunch of people with similar interests together; it’s like a snowball rolling downhill – it just keeps getting bigger and better.
For me, the participants tapped into this soft spot I try to keep covered. Poetry has always been emotional for me, and that’s why I love poetry: because I can listen to someone read their poem and there’s enough room inside what they’re expressing for me to adapt it to my own life. That ability to relate to something is such a release for me. The photos and videos in the slideshow that I had taken reflected people that I had connected with, people that formed some small bond with me. It also reflected, for me, everything I have learned from participants. I read a poem I had written quickly in a teen workshop. I would never have done that in the past because I get incredibly nervous and also overwrought, but this time I didn’t care.
Seeing the photos strung together reminded me of all those kids I got so attached to in such a short time, and of course Abby and Heather, who have such a place in my heart. I loved the video clip of Abby teaching the first graders, with her turtle poem drawn on the board. The BPP is so genuinely inspiring, and that slideshow conveyed that. This is a project that reaches out to the community in not just an intellectual way, but an emotional way. That is huge.
Watching the slideshow reel, it made me sad to think there would be no more workshops and I won’t be seeing those kids again. It made me sad to think my internship with the BPP is almost over and I may never work with Abby or Heather D. again. Then there was the photo of Heather and I sitting together our first day as BPP interns – that got me. What a journey it’s been.
This semester has been a road of writing and learning. It has meant a lot to me – more than I can express – to work with people in the community. All the late nights I’ve spent making flyers, filing e-mails, drafting blogs, and whatever else needed to be done all seem so small now. This event was all of those things wrapped into one big, glittery package. It made me feel like we accomplished something.
The participants have encouraged me to write more. The community participants have taught me a lot about patience, creativity, writing, encouragement, and communication. I’ve grown as a person through my interactions – even indirect ones – with the participants.
Thanks to everyone who came to the final reading and everyone that read! We had a great audience and a lot of awesome poems – YOU, the community, made this event great and we couldn’t have done it without you!
Spring Intern 2015