Students Celebrate National Poetry Month at West PoEtry Show
April is National Poetry Month, and this year at West Potomac High School, students observed the month by reading some of their favorite poetry and hearing from two published poets during the West PoEtry Show, a two-day show celebrating that genre of literature.
Poetry is a popular topic at West Potomac: each year, the Black Student Union holds a Poetry Slamm the school hosts a Poetry Outloud recitation contest, and the National English Honor Society, helps run the WestPoEtry Show. This commemoration of National Poetry Month began as the Poetry Expo at Mount Vernon High and was brought to West Potomac last year, where it was immediately embraced by the student body.
Students and staff members read their own works or their favorite poems by other authors. There was also a question and answer session with published poets Jasmine Rodriguez (known as Jazz) and Michael Gaut (known as MicThaPoet) where students asked questions about writing, publishing, and performing.
Jazz began writing when she was homeless in New York City and used her talents to persevere through the challenges she faced. Her book of poetry, Caged No More, reflects on what she has learned as a result of traveling and absorbing her surroundings.
MicThaPoet wrote his first poem at the age of seven on the back of some gift wrapping and originally wanted to be a classical poet. He realized he was more strongly influenced by contemporary music and hip-hop culture and began to read his work at open mic sessions for musicians. He has won four awards for his performance pieces from Syracuse University.
Poetry is part of the English curriculum in high school; how it is taught depends on the teacher. Some teachers used paired texts to teach English-Language Arts skills with a number of pieces of literature together, including poetry.