Hello, writers! Intern Joshua here – for the last time. As the cliché goes, it feels like it was only yesterday I was sitting at Starbucks, Americano in hand, staring at a blank page on my computer screen, trying to think of something to write. And now, here I am, four months later, sitting at Starbucks with an Americano in hand – old habits die hard – staring at my blank computer screen, trying to figure out where on earth to begin.
As I explained in a blog post a couple months ago – wow, it feels like eons ago, and also just yesterday – I was not always so fond of poetry. Even when applying to be an intern for the Binghamton Poetry Project, I was secretly hoping that this experience would teach me to have a new appreciation for poetry. But the Binghamton Poetry Project is not about poetry.
But Joshua, you may be thinking, it’s in the name of the organization – the Binghamton Poetry Project.
To which I would respond, absolutely. As the mission statement states, the aim is “to enhance art awareness and literacy in Broome County through poetry,” which is something that, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the directors, instructors, and of course, the participants, is masterfully accomplished. At its core, however, the project is about more than poetry; it’s about people.
It’s about giving people the opportunity to express themselves. The opportunity to tell their story and be heard. It gives instructors the opportunity to teach their craft, at the same time that they themselves are learning. Whether that’s learning patience (the kids workshops can be…lively), or learning to adapt and be flexible when things don’t go according to plan. Whether it’s learning a new style of poetry, or learning someone’s story, they’re constantly learning.
Yes, the Binghamton Poetry Project gave me a new appreciation for poetry. But more importantly, it gave me a new appreciation for people. Author Willa Cather once said, “The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own.” Behind every poem – every lively kids workshop – lies a dark forest.
The Binghamton Poetry Project has given me an appreciation for these dark forests. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Writers, I look forward to our paths crossing again. Keep an eye out for what the Binghamton Poetry Project has in store next semester!