Don’t Dodge This

UACHS Poetry Club at Dodge Poetry Club
Photo Credit: Garrielle Baldwin

UACHS Poetry Club at Dodge Poetry Club Photo Credit: Garrielle Baldwin

Garrielle Baldwin, Staff reporter

The Dodge Poetry Festival is the largest poetry event in North America presented by 

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Their mission is to gather students and well-known poets into the same room to spread experience and knowledge from their poems to their personal life. The event is held annually, with six day reading events, craft lectures, poetry workshops and for the delicious part, food trucks!

Our UACHS poetry club went to The Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey this past October. Our poetry club got to explore and hear of experiences from other professional poets, such as the well known American poet Sharon Olds. The event was spread across several venues: NJPAC, NJ Historical Society, Trinity & St. Philip’s Cathedral, Newark Museum of Art, and Center of Arts Education (CAE). 

 English teacher and poetry club advisor, Lisa Sambula, shares her perspective while at the festival. 

“I really enjoyed seeing the students from a teacher’s perspective. I enjoyed watching the students ask questions to the poets there,” said Sambula.

 From NJPAC to the Newark Museum of Art and then to the NJ Historical Society. All of the UACHS poetry students got to bond and spread poems of their own as if they were back at school in Sambula’s room.

Behind the idea of going to the Dodge Poetry Festival, was former English teacher and poetry club administrator, Susan Chenelle. She helped bring us a good idea for poetry club students and other staff to go to the Dodge Poetry Festival. 

“When Chenelle was an English teacher at the school, she had gone to The Dodge Poetry Festival many times. She still gets the emails from them, so she just forwarded me the email. That’s how I found out about it and I’m glad that I did,” said Sambula. 

The poetry club at UACHS has gone strong for many years, even during COVID lockdown with virtual club meetings. The poetry club, it has always been an open door for all classmen and Sambula to express meaningful poems or experiences with one another, as others give advice or just listen, giving snaps to all participants. 

“Poetry is kind of like a lost art. I think that a lot of people don’t give it enough attention and we do have students that are interested in expressing themselves, poetry or music,” said Sambula. 

Some of the kids expressed how people see poetry as just an emotional writing piece which isn’t all true. Poetry is more than emotional writing pieces and reading them and learning about someone else’s experience can really take you to another world. Just like being at The Dodge Poetry event. Junior at UACHS, and president of the poetry club, Emily Gordon, shares her feelings about the festival. 

“The whole event was a masterpiece. To say the least there was a multitude of poets who shared pure feelings and raw emotions which led us into their lives,” said Gordon.

 Everyone was eager to share their poems, and do fun Q&A’s with all highschool students and teachers there. A meaningful piece can convey hidden emotions buried within and expresses something special in a unique way. Poetry club is open to anyone and the members are ready to inspire others with their words and different interpretations of life.