Wednesday, March 21, 2012

California Poets in the Schools - French Garden Fundraiser April 21, 2:30 - 4:30

Many of you know that I've been teaching poetry in the schools for the past decade or so.  It's an amazing experience to say the least.  This year I taught Sapphic Fragments to students who were writing in English as a second language and was (as I always am) floored by how brilliantly my students wove their voices between ancient Greek fragments and their own modern words. 

Purple flowers divided in earth.
Salt sea, flowery fields, magical, magical world.
All stars.  Roses bloom.  Your tender heart.
Sweet apples on a tree.  Sweet apples on the boughs.
Dark purple-brown butterflies fly in the sunny-shiny sun.
---Estefania, 3rd grade

California Poets in the Schools is the organization that I work for.  And, as with just about everything else in California, the organization's funding has been drastically cut.  In order to allow us to continue to teach in schools that cannot afford to hire us as poet-teachers we've obtained some grant money, but are holding fundraisers in order to match that money.  Long story short, we are having a benefit at French Garden to raise money in order to support teacher poetry in the schools.  If you live in Sonoma County, please come join us!  Students, including our Sonoma County Poet Out Loud champion Brynna Thigpen, will be performing their poetry.  Delicious snacks will be served and there will be an excellent silent auction.

For those of you far away (who aren't struggling for funding yourselves) please consider sending in a tax deductible donation.  You can make checks payable to: California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) and send them to my attention at: 201 Wagnon Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472

See below for a full description of the event.  Hope to see you there!


Fundraiser for California Poets in the Schools 

On Saturday, April 21, French Garden Restaurant in Sebastopol presents poetry through the eyes and from the voices of youth. The program will last from 2:30 to 4:30, with hors d’oeuvres, coffee, sodas and sparkling water provided by the restaurant, and the entertainment by Sonoma County students, ranging from 2nd grade through high school.

Among the student presenters will be finalists from the Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud Competitions. These students are the crème of their high school crop, having memorized some of the greatest poems written in English and won school-wide competitions in a spelling bee style contest.

Other student presenters will be elementary and middle school youngsters who have written outstanding poems of their own, with the assistance of their dedicated poet-teachers from California Poets in the Schools (CPITS.) CPITS is one of the oldest and largest artist-in-residence programs in the United States. With the guidance of the poet-teacher and the inspiration of great poems from the past, students often write work wise far beyond their years, as in this 2ndgrader’s poem from Graton’s Oak Grove School:

The Great Bird


A bird, all life on the tips of its wings.

If it flaps its wings, a giant earthquake

cracks the earth in two.

Where is this great bird?

I will search in the sky and deep into the earth.

I pray this bird will soon be upon me.

I am old and gray from looking.

But I search for this wonderful bird

until the end of time.

I am still full of hope.

QUINN HORAK, 2nd Grade

Oak Grove School, Sonoma County

Ellen Dougalss, Classroom Teacher

Phyllis Meshulam, Poet Teacher

The French Garden Restaurant is located at 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol. For more information, call (707) 486-7450 to speak with Phyllis Meshulam, Sonoma County area coordinator of CPITS, or 707- 824-2030 to reach the restaurant.

            Come to Sebastopol for the Apple Blossom Parade, and stay to hear poetry!!

This event is free to the students, $5 for their parents, and for others, a recommended donation of $10 - $50. Sonoma County Poets in the Schools is the recipient of a competitive California Arts Council grant for $3,500, but it must be matched dollar for dollar with local money. 100% of all proceeds from the afternoon’s event will go to matching this grant.

A silent auction will be taking place concurrently.

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