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Celebrating Rural Poetry
In the spring of 2006 Coalfield Writers was one of eight writing project sites around the country awarded mini grants for the Celebrating Rural Poetry Project. Celebrating Rural Poetry was a collaboration between The National Writing Project and The Rural Schools and Community Trust. This partnership provided $3,000 mini grant. The objectives of the program were to:
- encourage rural public school students to write poetry about the people and places of rural America they know best
- encourage rural schools to adopt "sense of place" curricula
- raise the profile of rural schools and communities among educators, poets, and readers of poetry, and within Congress.
Coalfield Writers used the mini grant to pay stipends to six teachers who worked in teams of two to write lesson plans featuring a "sense of place" poetry lessons. These lesson plans were distributed to teachers in Logan, Mingo, and Boone Counties on CD, along with an invitation for teachers to use the lessons to engage students in poetry writing for submission to the student contest portion of the program.
Over 300 poems were submitted to the local contest. A panel of community members, including Dave Allen of WVOW Radio, Martha Sparks of The Logan Banner, principals, and retired educators met to select the top 10 poems from those submitted. The top ten winners are featured on a website developed for the project. Their poems can be found at ruralpoetry.org
Each local first place winner was invited to attend a rural poetry reading at the library of congress with the Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, who himself is a rural poet from Nebraska. The local winner was Budro Baisden, a student of Tracy Baisden at Logan High School.
The other Top Ten Winners from Coalfield Writers (in alphabetical order) were the following:
After the poems were judged, they were sent to Peggie B. Hensley, art teacher and director of LHS Art Productions at Logan High School. Her computer art students created a Poetry Poster for each student that submitted a poem. The top twenty were professionally printed at 16 x 20 inches. All poetry posters were printed and bound in a letter-size book.
Other Poetry Posters are listed below: