Traverse City Record-Eagle

Generation Why

December 5, 2011

Generation Why: Poets Night Out

Students from East Middle School dominated the recent Poets Night Out.

Six student poems were chosen for the event, held Nov. 13 at the City Opera House.

Judy Childs, eighth-grade Language Arts teacher, said 50 students submitted poems to Poets Night Out ... and waited for the rejection letters.

Childs herself submits poems every year and "this year I had the honor of being rejected for 10 years in a row."

"I tell the kids that this is an awesome opportunity to bare our souls to a distinguished, professional panel of poets, get rejected, and we have to pay for that honor."

She quotes poet Billy Collins to the students: "A poem starts out being about the writer and ends up being about the reader."

There was a "rejection party" in early November, when the letters arrived, but much to everyone's delight, six poems were accepted.

All students read their poems at the party and said they couldn't tell the difference between the accepted poems and the rejected poems, Childs said.

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