On Friday, October 6 from 8am-3:30pm, Southern Nazarene University (SNU) will be hosting a Coffee House Poetry Workshop in the library. Former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma Nathan Brown will be speaking, along with GNWY (Generation Why) and Amy Bowles. This workshop will give students and teachers the opportunity to hear original poetry from professionals as well as gain valuable information about the creative process of writing poetry.
Not only will SNU be a part of this event, students and teachers from neighboring middle and high schools will be in attendance. Here, teachers will learn how to incorporate poetry into their curriculum, and students will begin to see how poetry is relevant and important in today’s society.
I spoke with Dr. Pam Bracken, the head of the Coffee House Poetry project, about what this project is and how it came to be. “It started with a grant writing class where three women wanted to do a grant proposal that would procure money from one of the arts organizations… to host high school teachers on our campus and do something with poetry.”
This project began to grow into what it is now, as Dr. Bracken provided insight into the process, saying, “Then it evolved into saying, ‘Let’s not only bring the teachers, but the students…’ This is a way to show that we care about poetry at Southern Nazarene University.”
Dr. Bracken then explained that the purpose of this project was to “learn how to be a part of the hospitality [of SNU’s] community. Like Dr. Newman says, we don’t expect anything out of it… we just want to let them know that we are a loving community and have a sense of hospitality about what we do, and we do it well.”
She went on to say that this project is a great opportunity for both SNU students and faculty to practice hospitality. As prospective students will be on campus, it is also a great tool to get high school students involved in SNU’s humanities programs.
As Jana Seymour, a senior English major at SNU, stated, “We want students and teachers to know that poetry is important and that SNU cares about poetry.”
Seymour’s hope for this event is that, “Even on this campus here, poetry could be put in a place of importance… When we had Ed Neuenschwander speak in chapel and he read a poem for us, I thought his sermon was incredible… I mean, he’s a science guy, so if poetry is important to him, obviously it can bridge into all areas of life.”
This event is important to SNU as we attempt to show teachers, high school students and even SNU students that poetry is important and relevant in all areas of life. If you would like to be a part of a community of hospitality at SNU by volunteering for this event, please email Dr. Bracken at firstname.lastname@example.org.