Poetry was never meant to be parked in academia. Too dry. Too proper. Too overdone. Real poetry is more raw. As real as a flag at half mast hanging limp above dirty snow gathered on a concrete palette under a gray winter sky. Poetry doesn’t belong on a pedestal, it should be better grounded. Experience put to words, all ages, all voices.
Beginning in January, we will be writing poetry for two voices with Eastlake police officers and at-risk teens (is there any other kind?). Poetry writing is a step outside of their comfort zone for the officers, to be sure, and we thank Chief Larry Reik for accepting our invitation. We also humbly and enthusiastically thank Lori Caszett, grant writer extraordinaire, for helping us frame our programs and obtaining funding from the Ohio Library Association (big big thanks to them too!).
Today we had a meet and greet with the Chief. We discussed our backgrounds, our different political bends, and our shared desire to improve communication between the department and teens. The department already has the normal programs in place, DARE and GRACE.
The conference room where we met was decorated with artwork from a local elementary, the kids expressing their appreciation and fondness for the Eastlake police. Hopefully our writing program will build some bridges between officers and those more difficult to reach – teens.
The writing will begin in January and we have a celebration planned to share our work on Valentine’s Day. More details to follow. Watch this space.
We are very very excited about this opportunity.