Community Celebrates Poetry Month and Fights Censorship

April is National Poetry Month, and it rarely goes unnoticed on Tandem's campus. Morning Meetings in April usually include someone sharing a poem, followed by snaps for approval. This week, Librarian Kelly Kroese organized a TFS poetry reading and bake sale (organized by Library Intern Katya T) for a Speaker Series to bring attention to the issue of rising censorship in our country. Proceeds will benefit the National Coalition against Censorship's and the Kids' Right to Read Project. Kroese brought in local poet, filmmaker and scientist James Cole to host the reading and share some of his own work. James is active in the Virginia arts community, founder of the Charlottesville Poetry Critique Circle and member of the Live Poets Society, and has taught poetry composition in the area and at local Virginia schools. The poetry reading was attended by Upper Schoolers and Upper School faculty, many of whom shared a poem, with intermittent checkins by Kroese to share facts and information about the dramatic rise in book censorship in the US. For example, last year there were 2,171 attempts to ban books, with 90% of those titles included on lists being shared by groups and not individuals, a huge change from previous years. The American Library Association has just designated April 24, the Monday of National Library Week, as Right to Read Day. Right to Read Day marks the first anniversary of the ALA-founded Unite Against Book Bans campaign, a public-facing advocacy initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. The poetry reading was uplifting and eye opening - check out some photos. 

One final Poetry Month item of note - Upper School Dean of Students Jocelyn Camarata does a wonderful job keeping community bulletin boards engaging and updated and created a poetry one in the Community Hall. Jocelyn asked faculty and staff members to share favorite poems, and has posted the poems, along with the names of those who shared them, on the board. It's been great to read outside the cafe and then connect the poem with the person who recommended it. Check out more National Poetry Month info here.