Kids shine at Saint Jacobi poetry recital

May 16, 2014 Editorial Staff
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After five consecutive weeks of giving up their Saturdays, students of St. Jacobi’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Poetry Writing Workshop presented their poems at the church on Saturday, May 10. The event was a part of St. Jacobi’s 125th anniversary celebration.

It was sponsored by Kings County NY Chapter Thrivent-Care Abounds in Community Hands on Project and St. Jacobi Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Poet and educator Marion Palm, and musician Lenny Vretholm served as the instructors of the workshop, along with Lelia Johnson and Billy Zena as volunteers. Palm taught the students a variety of poetry styles such as acrostic, free verse, rhyming, poems in forms of shapes and elements of writing poetry.

At the start of the five-week course, Palm said that the children were reluctant because they had to use their imagination and creativity, and learn to focus within themselves while setting aside their computer games and outside influences.

“I took them through writing and drawing just to music, release their inner selves. So one of the boys wrote a lot of poems about lions,” said Palm. “His last name is De Leon so he’d be drawing to something angry and something sad but it would be a lion each time so it tells you that he’s very proud of his name and who he is.”

The youngest of the ten participants was only six years old. According to Palm, while he didn’t have the writing skills, he had the ideas in his head. “He doesn’t have that restriction we already put on children very early to not use your creativity,” she said.

The recital featured musicians, Michiyo Tanaka on the flute and vocals and Ron McClure played bass, as well as Vretholm on the violin. The recital demonstrated to students that music can accompany poems and poems can accompany music.

Upon completing the course, the students received Poetic License Certificates that Johnson provided for the children. “I think they were absolutely fabulous,” said Johnson. “I think they were a little bit nervous but more than half of them want to know when we are going to do it again.”

Palm added that the children need problem-solving skills for today’s world. “They need to be able to think out of the box. When something comes up, you need to be able to not look in the computer or somebody,” she said. “You have to be able to center yourself and go on your own.”

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