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Liberty City Elementary Kids Explore Poetry With A Poet

Lisann Ramos

Elementary students in Liberty City are getting lessons from a professional poet through the O, Miami poetry festival.

For four weeks students at Orchard Villa Elementary are getting a crash course in poetry from an actual poet.

“This is my first time knowing about poetry, and it is fun. And I get to write my own poetry stories and we could talk about our family,” said Kindra Oriental, a third grader.

Oriental is one of the students in the third grade class learning from poet Laurel Nakanishi.

“Sometimes they’ll be like ‘Is it ok to write this?’ And I’ll be like ‘Yes! Write that’,” said Nakanishi. “Because they aren’t sure if they have permission to get that creative or to write about their personal experience in that way.”

Nakanishi received her MFA in poetry from the University of Montana and is currently studying at FIU.

Isaiah Bell is another one of Nakanishi’s students.

“When Miss Nakanishi came here I’m like, ‘Yes! We need poetry!’ Because sometimes in life you have to write yourself a poetry or someone else that needs help cheering up,” Bell said.

Scott Cunningham is the director of the festival. He believes that one of the best ways to accomplish his goal is to expose children to poetry as early as possible.

“I went to grad school for poetry, and there’s not anywhere near the same enthusiasm in that class as there was in this class,” said Cunningham. “Kids at that age, they take to poetry in a way that we as adults I think sometimes forget how to do.”

The students are going to showcase their work to their parents and faculty next week.

The goal of the O, Miami poetry festival is to have everyone in Miami experience a poem throughout the month of April. O, Miami plans to continue teaching poetry in schools.

The 2015 festival will go on until the end of the month.