Adults and children gathered at a Newtown home during the evening of Wednesday, July 9. Children played between chairs and towels or ate alongside the adults in attendance for the culminating celebration of this year’s Newtown Poetry Project accomplishments.
Carol Ann Davis, a Newtown resident, author, and professor in Fairfield University’s creative writing program, said the event went very well despite having to be moved indoors due to rain.
This is the second year the Newtown Poetry Project has produced a collection of poetry, created by local children and parents.
The Newtown Poetry Project began during the 2012-13 school year with Ms Davis and then-Hawley Elementary School teacher Lea Attanasio co-teaching poetry workshops. At the time, Ms Attanasio said the workshop grew out of a desire to be one of the people providing help to heal and rebuild the community following the events of 12/14.
“We know that writing can be therapeutic, an outlet for expressing our feelings,” Ms Attanasio said at the final meeting of the workshop in 2013. “Poetry, in particular, allows us to freely express ourselves without the rules and conventions of paragraph writing.”
This year The Newtown Poetry Project continued to offer workshops by holding meetings at Brookfield’s Valley Presbyterian Church. Area children in third through sixth grade were welcome to participate. According to a flyer for the program, parents were welcome to drop their students off or attend and participate in the workshop meetings themselves.
Ms Attanasio, who is now a library-media specialist in Greenwich, continued to co-teach the workshops this year with Ms Davis.
The workshop is made possible, in part, by support from the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University, according to a release, and funding, according to the book, for the publication also came from the Connecticut Writing Project and Fairfield University.
This year’s Newtown Poetry Workshop meetings began in March, and a book, From the Plain White Table, sharing a collection of the work created during the workshops, was offered at the July 9 event.
When droplets of rain began coming down heavier on Wednesday, the celebration as moved inside, where children and parents read some of the poetry offered in From the Plain White Table.
An introduction for the book reads, “From the plain white table, reads our title, and that line is taken, appropriately enough, from a line written collaboratively around our workshop table, which we covered with white butcher paper. As you can guess, the table didn’t stay plain white for long; each week with colored markers we wrote words that appealed to us as we listened to each other read aloud from our own and from others’ work, choosing the words we liked best for inclusion in the common word hoard that the butcher paper became.”
Ms Davis said The Newtown Poetry Project will be offered again next year, through weekly workshops that will last for about six weeks.