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Ripon High students celebrate poetry month

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In dimmed light of a “Poetry Café” Ripon High Senior recites her poem “Lake” before a crowded meeting room at the Ripon Library.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED April 20, 2013 2:26 a.m.

Wednesday was the Eleventh Annual Poetry Café held at the Ripon Library with the help of the library staff and the Ripon High School English Department in celebration of national Poetry Month – 75 filled the meeting room.

The fact that this event has taken place for 11 years shocked many students as most of us had become aware of it only recently or for some just in the last couple of years.  I was informed, however that attendance has been up in recent years.  This year about 70 to 80 high-schoolers, parents and teachers attended which is a large contrast to the Café’s attendance of approximately only 20 in its early years held in the old library building on Main Street.

So what is so wonderful about Poetry Care?  Do students actually care about listening to others’ literary pieces – apparently so.

Teens who attended told me they thought it was “pretty cool to see how other kids – and a couple adults – think.”  Some added, “It was weird but nice to have people just get up there and say what they actually felt, so openly.”

Librarian Melinda Kopp, one of the original creators of this poetic event said, “I just love hearing what students come up with and how it’s sometimes serious, or sometimes just silly, but always fun.”

When students were asked how it was to be the one to read their poem, many said something along the lines of: “I was so nervous” or “I thought I’d mess up.”  But the most common response in retrospect, “I’m glad I read.”

With the lights down low, coffee in the air, and delicious cookies to munch, everybody is happy and made comfortable enough to share.  There were outgoing people and shy people.  Everyone was welcome to read and everybody was supportive.

It really is a fun, but intellectual event meant for all to share.

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