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One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is the first of three workshops dedicated to planning the Poetry Slam, although reminders and plan suggestions for a possible fund-raiser were provided in previous workshops. Workshops 12 and 13 outline the planning process. Workshop 14 focuses on the actual performance. If your group desires planning workshops more than two weeks before the performance, adjust your schedule. You can hold Workshops 12 and 13 earlier in the semester and schedule one or two workshops between those and Workshop 14. You can also rearrange the workshops in this program or design your own workshop. See Workshop 13, Alternate Activity 1: Rainy Day Plan, for ideas that fit the latter model. However, do not start planning the Poetry Slam too early, because you want to give the group time to bond before working on the performance, and you do not want the group to lose enthusiasm because of overplanning.

Be prepared to spend additional time outside of the workshop, if needed, to ensure the success of the Poetry Slam. If needed seek additional help from youths' families, your religious educator, minister, or writers within the congregation.


This workshop will:

  • Honor our spirits, creativity, and craftsmanship by making poems and sharing them with others
  • Explore differences between reading and hearing a poem
  • Provide steps for participants to thoughtfully plan and implement a public performance of poetry
  • Allow participants to experience a new way of working together through crafting a choral reading

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Analyze the differences between reading poetry and hearing it
  • Craft poetry while paying particular attention to how the experience of the listener influences the writing process
  • Work cooperatively to plan a group performance
  • Identify specific talents they and others possess that will contribute to the success of a group performance
  • Engage the congregation through an invitation to participate in the group performance

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