Poetry, Cookies, and Tea

Back again; it’s Charlotte. As the end of school and finals approach, I can’t help but look forward to the classes I might take this coming fall. So many options and so little time to decide! Preregistration begins Monday and my indecision is only heightening. Yet, as I begin to anticipate next year, I realize how much I am going to miss the classes I am taking this semester and the experiences that I have had. In particular, I am dreading the end of my Poetry Workshop seminar.

we have a lot of snacks...
we have a lot of snacks…

This weekly, 12-person seminar has been my favorite class at Swarthmore so far. Every week we write a poem for the given assignment, for example, a fairytale, a love poem, a translation, or a dream poem. Then, we submit it before class so that we can read and comment on each others’ work ahead of time. Every Wednesday I, along with two of my close friends who are also in the class, go to a local coffee shop (Hobbs, as I am sure I have mentioned before) and read over all the poems.

He edits poems while I attempt to do math homework
He edits poems while I attempt to do math homework

In class we discuss our poetry over tea and a variety of snacks. As fond as I am of food, the best part about the class is the people in it. The students are of all class years and majors: Biology, Theater, English, German, Music, and Political Science to name a few. Yet, despite the differences in background, age, interest, and experience, each student has a similar passion for writing and poetry that clearly shows in each poem and in our discussions. It’s fascinating to read poetry of all different styles and perspectives, particularly because it widens each of our own understandings of poetry. Over the course of the semester, each of us has greatly improved her writing skills. We have further developed our own style while simultaneously learning to incorporate hints of techniques and styles used effectively by other students. The discussions are full of equal parts constructive criticism, questions, and praise.

I am normally located on the couch on the right
I am normally located on the couch to the right or the floor in front of it

But poetry aside, over the past few months we have grow close as friends, something I never would have foreseen. We feel comfortable sharing personal opinions or thoughts and telling stories about anything from childhood to friendships to embarrassing moments. We have discussed societal problems, favorite foods, and ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends all over the span of an hour. It sounds cliche but the class has become a space where we can relax and have conversation freely and productively. Now, having finished my final poetry class, I cannot imagine having had such a rewarding and enjoyable experience with any other group of people. They have introduced me to other styles of writing, different ways of thinking, and Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, all of which I now cannot live without. I am looking forward to next fall, but I will miss seeing these faces every week.

he said it's for theater...
he said the stuffed crocodile is for theater…

Before I get overly emotional, I will end this post with a poem I wrote for the seminar. We were told to write a riddle and here is what I came up with:

My friends tell me that I’m afraid of commitment,
but really I just like fresh starts. You left grey marks
all over my clean layout and I am done
with you marginalizing my decisions.

You are not the highlight of my story or by any means
a permanent chapter. It doesn’t matter
how many times you rewrite yourself into my life,
I am done with your unreliability.

I may have fallen for your bold lines and clever jokes,
but you break too often, and I don’t have time
to keep fixing your mistakes. Go find yourself
another book lover who still appreciates your wood.

Can you guess who the speaker of the poem is?

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