The poetry stand

Douglas Goetsch

How a precocious group of high school poets learned to provide verse on demand

In July of 2006, I received an e-mail from Richard K. Weems, who directs the creative writing division of the New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts. He had hired me to teach poetry to a group of gifted high school students later that month, and he wanted to know if I was interested in conducting a “Drive-by poetry” field trip, which is what past teachers had done.
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Drive-by poetry, as Rich described it, entails loading the students into a van, cruising around a commercial area in Trenton, and pulling over near targeted pedestrians. One of the students sticks his or her head out the passenger window and serenades – or accosts – the startled pedestrian with some passionately recited lines by Walt Whitman or Pablo Neruda. The kid pops back in, rolls up the window, and the van takes off in search of the next victim.

The author is a poet and writer based in USA. He can be reached at doug@janestreet.com.

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