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Poetic License

Self-expression and the power of poetry



Words wound and words heal. They can divide a nation or transform a dream into a movement. “Handle them carefully,” cautions writer Pearl Strachan Hurd, “for words have more power than atom bombs.” In 2005 explosive words were scrawled across student lockers at Wilton High School. But even after the racial graffiti was wiped away, the scars of prejudice lingered. 

Disturbed by the slurs, the library’s head of teen services, Susan Lauricella, and her colleagues resolved to broaden the discussion of diversity and tolerance among the community’s youth. That winter Poetry in Motion was born. Students in grades seven through 12 were invited to submit original poems that expressed their thoughts, experiences, and feelings about age, religion, race, sexuality, and gender discrimination. Fifty-five students responded, submitting 67 poems.

We are told Eye for Eye!
Meeting sins with more sins
But when the whole world
    is eyeless
Who really wins? 

                           —Michael Garland

A student board and adult advisors pored over the poems short and long, introspective and whimsical, and debated the merits of each. Some presented a global perspective, exploring issues taking place in Israel, Beirut, and the Sudan. Others afforded a glimpse into what it means to be an outsider within their own community. And several offered hope for a better world. 

I want to hear a poem
That is not like any other poem
I want to hear a poem not   
   about
What will happen tomorrow
But how we will change today
About how we will make a difference in someone’s life
Or how we will increase our  
   compassion for each other 

                                              —Edwin Carbajal 

During the ensuing months, students refined their work with help from Heather Candels and other teachers. Then Regie Gibson arrived. Professional slam poet, songwriter, author and educator, Gibson traveled from Boston to coach the teens on performance technique. Collaborating with creative and music directors, students then took to the stage for rehearsals. 

“We were putting on a show, a play of sorts, that unfolded from one poet to the next,” says former Poetry in Motion board member and ABC scholar Edwin Carbajal, who graduated from Princeton in 2014. “It’s a wonderful way to voice your views to the community—an accomplishment that you’ve worked on throughout the year. There’s a real satisfaction in that.”

The program is not limited to poets. Student photography, artwork, music, dance, and acting often accompany the poetry, offering creative interpretation. The collaboration culminates in two performances in the library’s Brubeck Room. 

Presenting one’s beliefs takes courage—especially for youth in the throes of identity development and intense social pressures. “Many students are sharing their own world, their own thoughts,” observes Lauricella. “It’s not easy, and often very raw. I give them a lot of credit.” 

Running  away from stereo-       
types
“You’re short, so you must
   be weak”
Chasing away tears as the world
passes me by 

                       —Mia Lupo

“When I started high school, I was searching for ways to be creative and express my thoughts,” recalls WHS junior Claire Vocke. “Writing and reciting poems through this program makes me feel like I have a voice in society and an outlet to express my feelings. It has been a huge stress reliever and an amazing learning experience.”

It’s also impacted the trajectory of some students’ academic careers. One eighth-grader submitted a poem but didn’t want to get up on stage, so Lauricella offered to recruit a theater student to perform it for him. By the end of the editing session, the fledgling poet agreed to do it himself. Emboldened by his experience, the teen went on to star in several WHS plays and is now majoring in theater at college.

Middlebrook student and Poetry in Motion board member Ryan McElroy encourages others to get involved. “I tell them ‘Don’t be discouraged because you’ve never gotten up on stage or are shy,” he says. “It’s a really safe environment for kids to test themselves and improve on what they know.” Each year, the board selects a theme and how the poets interpret it is as varied as the students themselves. 

Poetry in Motion is a labor of love, requiring significant effort and funding. “It’s the best-kept secret in town, which is part of the problem,” says Lauricella. “Part of me wants to see it go on forever, but we need parental and community support in order to continue.” 

Last year, Poetry in Motion celebrated a decade of giving voice to often challenging topics through performance art. More than 100 poems were submitted. This year’s performances, scheduled for March 24 and 25, address the theme “But Wait, There’s More …” Attend, and experience for yourself the power of poetry.

Shedding the roles of audience
   member and performer
What was empty is now full.
All because one of us dared to say, “Hello.’ 

                                                               —Molly Hoch

From top to bottom: Poetry slam participants Stepanie Xie, Tor Aronson, Shayna Goldberg, Kaitlin McNamara.

Photos Courtesy Wilton Library

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April 2018

Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

The Theatre Artists Workshop (TAW) will present a reading of Norwalk writer Jim Gordon's new comedy "The Incident” President Durak's approval rating has crashed. He needs...

Cost: ​A donation of $15 is suggested

Where:
The Theatre Artists Workshop
5 Gregory Blvd
Norwalk, CT
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Telephone: 203-854-6830
Website »

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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

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Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

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“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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Saturday, April 21 through Tuesday, April 24 Wilton Library’s Annual Gigantic Spring Book Sale Fundraiser Wilton Library’s largest book sale features more than 70,000 items sorted in...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Learn about building structures resistant to earthquakes with toothpicks and marshmallows Tuesday, April 24th from 4-5 PM For kids in grade 1-3 Registration is required To register,...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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On Wednesday April 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. join us for a leisurely stroll down our stream-side trail in memory of one of our founding Board members, Helen Hermes, to discover some of her...

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
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Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Come see Edith+Eddie, a 2018 Academy Award® nominated best documentary short film, followed by a panel discussion of esteemed experts in the fields of estate...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Ferguson Library
One Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join Grace Farms Foundation and New Canaan Library for an insightful conversation about global policy and America’s potential for growth and leadership with retired United States Army General...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation & New Canaan Library
Telephone: 203-920-1720
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us Friday, April 27 from 8pm – 10pm for a Live Jazz Night at the Carriage Barn Arts Center. Performing jazz musicians are Rob Duguay’s “Songevity Trio” featuring Noah...

Cost: Advance tickets $15 / $20 at the door

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

Music on the Hill  celebrates "Music of Scandinavia" in a concert combining the Festival Chorus and professional Chamber Chorus, led by Artistic Director David H. Connell....

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The winter exhibit at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery entitled, “Worth a Thousand Words" features artists’ renderings that convey...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On Saturday April 28 from 10 – 11 a.m. veteran fly-tier New Pond Farm Program Director Tim Laughlin, would like to introduce you to the art of fly tying. Learn to tie a “Woolly...

Cost: $15 per New Pond Farm member child, $20 per non-member child

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Take Part in this Entertaining and Interactive Afternoon of Clues, Challenges, and a Race to the Finish Line and After Party! Saturday, April 28, Meet-up 10:30 AM, Hunt 11 AM-1 PM,...

Cost: $40

Where:
??? :-)
Norwalk, CT


Website »

More information

Norwalk Now Presents a City-Wide Adventure NORWALK CITY HUNT Saturday, April 28, Meet-up 10:30 AM, Hunt 11 AM-1 PM, After Party 1-3 PM Norwalk Now presents Norwalk City Hunt, an...

Cost: $40

Where:
93 N Main St
norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Now
Telephone: 203-561-9878
Contact Name: Linda Kavanagh
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 Rated PG Open to everyone, no registration required For questions, please call the library at 914-669-5161 or email at keelerlibrary@wlsmail.org To learn...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Mondays, April 2 through May 21 @6pm Caring for a loved one who is ill is stressful and exhausting. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Wednesdays, April 4 through May 23 @1pm ​Grief is invisible and often misunderstood. It can be a profoundly isolating and lonely experience. Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

In this coming of age documentary, four friends on the Autism spectrum whom have bonded through humor and performed as the comedy troupe 'Asperger's Are Us' will prepare for one final,...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Telephone: 203-762-3950
Website »

More information

Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County to Honor Margaret Keane at Benefit Concert Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County (CLC) will honor Synchrony Financial CEO...

Cost: $55

Where:
Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street
Stamford, CT  06901
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Learning Centers of Fairfield County
Telephone: 203-653-1369
Contact Name: Mike
Website »

More information

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” Leatrice Eiseman, PANTONE Color Institute. Zeitgeist is descending to downtown New Canaan this season with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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