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Local poetry project to mark Young People’s Poetry Week

(Published April 5, 1999)

April showers bring May flowers and plenty of poetry. April is National Poetry Month and the District’s first Young People’s Poetry Week kicks off April 7 with a reading from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Coolidge Auditorium of the Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress. Children’s book authors Nikki Grimes and Judith Viorst join D.C. public school students in reading their work.

The event is part of the District Lines Poetry Project. The project, created in 1994 by the nonprofit Federation of Friends, is known for exposing the general public to poetry through poster exhibits in the area’s mass transit system.

This year the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities/NEA and the Washington Post are supporting the project.

"It encourages poetry literacy, value arts education, strengthens community ties, and adds another positive image to the area’s cultural experiences," said Laurie Stroblas, project director.

For nearly five years, local "Metro muse" posters featured poems by 39 D.C. public school students, as well as by nationally known, award winning adult poets. Poems are displayed on platform posters and inside subway cars. Works by D.C. poets Quique Avile’s, Laura Fargas, and Elaine Magarrell were featured last year on platform posters in Dupont Circle and Metro Center.

The project also offers writing workshops in local libraries and public schools, and humanities discussions that engage young people in selecting poems to be chosen for the posters..

The six young poet lauretes scheduled to read at the kickoff are Charles Davis-Stewart of Hobson Middle School, Demario Greene of Beers Elementary School, Ayanna Murray-Mazwi of Oyster Bilingual Elementary School, Jorge Orozco of Bancroft Elementary School, Harriet Blair Rowen of Oyster, and Rexannah Wyse of Bancroft Elementary School.

This year works by local poets Eloise Greenefield, Doloris Kendrick, Judith Viorst, and Anthony Hecht will be displayed.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator