LEARNING POETRY IN A DIFFERENT WAY
Poet Laureate Visits CCHS
By Paul Kura
HURLEYVILLE, March 2022 — On February 26, Eric Baylin, the Poet Laureate of Sullivan County, came to the Collaborative College High School to teach two classes on poetry.
A Poet Laureate is officially appointed by the government to represent a specific place. Eric B. Baylin started out by studying visual arts and sculpting and later became a teacher at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn. When he retired from teaching, he signed up for the Poet Laureate position by submitting his poem called “Pancake Breakfast at the Firehouse.” Mr. Baylin hosts many poetry workshops in the Sullivan County community, and is now in the process of planning a Sullivan Youth Poetry Festival.
At CCHS, Mr. Baylin led two classes. Each class lasted around one hour, and took place at 9:40-10:40 and 10:45-11:45 a.m. respectively.
During the classes, Mr. Baylin asked the students to make what he called a “black-out poem” by choosing words out of a text and crossing the rest out with a sharpie. After that, some of the students presented their black-out poems to the class. The second lesson in the one-hour time period was about writing poetic odes. Ode poetry is used to ceremoniously celebrate a person, place, thing, or idea. Finally, many people shared their odes with the class and Lia Guillerme who is an 8th grader at CCHS said, “It was fun to learn about poetry in a different way than we usually learn in school.”
In Mr. Baylin’s reflection about his experience at CCHS he wrote that he was impressed with the students’ “level of creativity and willingness to just jump in and try things out.”
This is significant because he may come back to the school and teach another poetry lesson to the students of CCHS. He explained that it is his goal to get more people interested in poetry. Mr. Baylin has participated in many community events, and has reached out to people in local schools and media. He has also visited Homestead’s Glen Spey campus multiple times. CCHS had a great time during the poet laureate’s visit and the school hopes he can come visit again soon.
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The author is a ninth grade student at the Collaborative College High School in Hurleyville.