by Mirria Martin
Mifflin’s first Diplomas Now event, P.O.E.M. Night (Poets Orally Expressing at Mifflin), was held on October 23rd, 2012. The night started with refreshments and four poetry workshops running in the library. Three were run by City Year Corps Members, with the fourth run by a member of the community who has competed in poetry on a national level.
After the workshops, which ran for half an hour, the participants were escorted to the auditorium. Along the way, they were encouraged to pick up free books. These books, which had been collected throughout the month, encompassed all reading levels and were offered in honor of Family Literacy Month.
- I am, I was, I will be
The participants were asked to write down words that they associated with a list of words read aloud by a Corps Member. Afterwards they constructed poems using the phrases “I am,” “I was,” “I will be,” and the adjectives they picked.
- Word Art
Participants, led by a Corps Member, designed and created word art and poems using markers and colorful paper.
- Pieces of Life
Led by a Corps Member, participants made visual poem collages out of magazines, which were donated by the Corps.
- Your Safe Space
One of the most popular of the choices, this workshop was led by a community member. It focused on finding different ways to describe everyday things and understanding what makes us feel safe.
We then began the Open Mic portion of the evening. Alternating between featured performers (which included several corps members and members of the community) and student performers, poets took to the mic and either read poems or performed spoken word. There were 14 performers total.
Overall, this was an extremely successful event. We had 69 attendees crowded into the bottom level of the library, and caught the attention of the Mifflin Alumni. My personal hope, as the ELA Coordinator for the school, is that this will go on to become an annual event at the Mifflin High School.