High School Mini Festivals

Photo by Bill ONeal

Are you a New Jersey teacher looking for new ways to ignite or sustain your students’ interest in poetry?   

The Dodge Poetry Program wants to partner with your high school to bring poets into your classroom. We will work with a lead coordinator (teacher or administrator) to customize a Dodge Poetry experience that meets your school’s unique needs and budget. We can help you determine the best way to celebrate poetry in your school.  The day can be designed several different ways—variable options can be mixed and matched. Below are a few options of what it might look like.

  • Poet Visit: One poet spends the day at your school visiting 2-3 classes, reads their poems at assembly, and/or participates in a Q&A with students. 
  • Mini-Festival: 3-6 poets spend the day at your school. Ways they can engage with your students include classroom visits, reading poems at an assembly, and/or participating in a Q&A with students.
  • Regional Mini-Festival: One school hosts a day in which neighboring schools are invited to participate in a visit with 3-6 poets.   Poets can visit classrooms, read their poems at a large assembly, and/or participate in a Q&A. Organizing an event with other schools in the area can have cost benefits, and brings together students from different schools for an exciting, enriching and fun experience.

Whichever option you choose, your students will have a direct, personal experience with poetry, an art form that’s as vibrant and powerful as ever. They’ll also have the unique chance to ask poets questions about their poems and their lives. Our Dodge poets connect with students in a way that makes these days meaningful and, for some students and poets, unforgettable.

What does Dodge provide?

  • Guidance and planning: After you answer a few basic questions, we can offer suggestions on a customized, flexible schedule that will work for your student body.  We’ll help you select a date that works for your school, and work with you on a checklist in order to prepare for your poetry event.
  • Poet selection: We’ll invite poets to your school with a diverse range of voices so that your students are exposed to an array of poetry styles.  We will communicate with poets directly, and coordinate their availability and schedules. 
  • Poems: We’ll send you Dodge Poet Pages before the poet visit or mini-festival, which contain selected poems by the visiting poet(s) and a brief bio, so you and your students can prepare for the visit.
  • Flexibility: We can work with your budget, school size and schedule to make sure that the experience you choose is right for your school.

The Dodge Poetry Program sends poets into New Jersey high schools so students experience first-hand that poetry is a living art that can speak directly to and for them. Experiencing this personal connection through a first-hand look into the work and lives of living poets can foster life-long reading. Although on some occasions Dodge Poets will offer writing or reading suggestions, or leave students with a writing prompt, we do not send poets into the schools to teach writing or conduct writing workshops. We believe every student can benefit from having poetry in their lives, whether or not they are inclined to write or perform.

Next steps…

If you are interested in coordinating a poetry event for your high school, e-mail Ysabel Y. Gonzalez, Assistant Director, at ygonzalez(at)grdodge(dot)org, who can guide you through next steps, as well as answer any questions you may have.


Photo Credit: Bill ONeal