News Category: Arts & Poetry
For me, poetry has always existed on an individual plane. While I would share my writing with a friend or the occasional parent, I scribbled verses on the back of notebooks and fleshed out rhyme schemes mainly for myself. Writing was an introspective journey — one of vulnerability and self-discovery. But at the 2019 IGNITE, I came upon a rather unexpected conclusion: that perhaps I could use poetry as a means of connecting with others.
IGNITE is an annual event that takes place in the Firehouse Arts Center and the surrounding streets between Division and Railroad. From East Indian classicical dance shows to sound sculpting to a capella to miniature rocket models, it’s possible to find almost anything at this innovation festival.
Visitors of all ages stroll down the streets, approaching different booths or stalls that interest them. While the event is certainly fun during late afternoon, IGNITE truly comes into being when it grows dark. As the last drops of sunlight dribble through tent curtains, visitors don fluorescent glow necklaces on their wrists and necks. Fairy lights gleam against the obscurity of the evening. It’s a sight for sore eyes, and unforgettable for all those who attend.
As this year’s Teen Poet Laureate, a student ambassador for poetry and literacy within our community, I was absolutely thrilled to host a booth of my own with the Pleasanton Library. I had never been to an IGNITE event myself, so my expectations were rather blurred. Hosting an interactive event of my own raised questions that I hadn’t thought about before. How do you explain poetry to different members of your community? Who do you think would be interested in participating in a poetic activity? And, most importantly, what is poetry in the first place?
I didn’t want to throw people off guard. Even as someone who is deeply passionate about creative writing, I know how the peculiar uncertainty that comes with the poetic medium can often be unsettling, or even terrifying. So I decided to help people out, I created “fill-in-the blanks”, or Mad-libs based poetry templates that could be customized. In addition, I provided visual inspiration by including photographs of Pleasanton’s natural imagery, different people, and more.
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