PGO Grant – Visiting Poet

poetry-smWith the support of an ARHS PGO grant,  a visiting poet attended two ARHS English classes (American Lit. & Nature) this spring. Sean Vernon is a songwriter, musician, poet and performer living in Western Massachusetts. Sean has recorded 6 CDs to date. Sean’s recordings feature musical settings of poems by famous British and American poets. Sean’s 1st album, Wider Than The Sky, is a collection of 14 poems by Emily Dickinson and is carried at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Mr. Vernon came to class prepared to talk about several specific American poems, ranging from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Sean had set each poem to his own music and he accompanied himself on his guitar, singing several settings to our students over the course of each hour he spent with them. His sessions were highly interactive–lots of back and forth discussion about poetry, life and music. He also led students through a couple of  poetry writing exercises using the poems he played as inspiration for prompts he had created. He was able to get students to share what they had just written–his manner was so warm and personable and passionate that they easily responded to him. Th next day, they had nothing but glowing feedback about his visit and they readily realized the value he had created for us in so short a time–just an hour, but packed with energy and a depth of feeling and thinking about poetry. ~Thanks to Danae Marr & Tracey McCormick 

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