As the poetry project wraps up for the Fall 2015 season (don’t worry we’ll be back shortly) I can’t help but admire the entire Project. Though there was pressure and stress there was also a lot of joy- joy for being involved in a non-profit, delight for poetry and most importantly so much happiness shared between poets and friends alike. Often I’ve been wondering what I will do now that my time with the project is coming to an end, and this thought frightens me. I spent an entire semester working with some incredible people. How does one replace that feeling of inspiration when it’s time to move on? Though I hope to remain involved with the Poetry Project I know it won’t be as hands on as being an intern was. The thought alone saddens me. Even with the departure of myself, I know that someone else also deserves this experience. So here’s to all of us and the many things I’ve come to understand because of the Poetry Project.
I came to understand poetry in a different way than I once did. There are so many ways to read and interpret poetry and that is why it is so unique. All of the lengthy discussions and the participants’ input on poetry helped to open my mind and challenged me to think differently. The first time I taught a workshop was with the Poetry Project. Each participant was actively engaged in the poetry I brought. “This is overwhelming,” someone whispered. “Overwhelming?” another participant questioned. “Yes!” he spoke again, “it’s overwhelming in the fact that she knows exactly what I’m feeling.” It was exhilarating to know that something overwhelming to one person was completely inspiring to me, and I too realized how overwhelming these words were.
Observing the workshop leaders has also brought inspiration to my own writing. Their passion and knowledge has helped to shape my own passions. I watched my workshop leader week after week. Her elegance and grace was uncanny, she was everything I wanted to be not only as a teacher but a poet. She spoke with admiration not only for the great poets she brought into workshop every week but for the participants sitting around her.
I came to understand that non-profit organizations are the backbone to the community. They bring people together, and build ties to our community and of course with each other. I’ve found a love for non-profit work and with that love comes a new kindness I never imagined I could find. Not only do I feel more engaged in the community, I feel an attachment to the people of the community. Their stories, their writing have all shaped my experiences.
Without our participants there is no Poetry Project. You are what keeps us going. I know you guys will continue to write amazing poetry and inspire everyone around you. So here’s to another great season and I hope to see everyone again soon!