Young writers produce anthology - Catholic Courier

Young writers produce anthology

ROCHESTER- There’s a budding writer’s community at Holy Rosary School on Lexington Avenue, and it’s already produced an anthology of poetry and prose.

Titled “One World Under The Sun,” the anthology contains the writings of the school’s fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders, and contains dreamy poetry, passionate verse, thoughtful similes and joyous metaphors. Under the tutelage of writer M.J. Iuppa, the students drew on Native American and Chinese oral and written traditions for inspiration in writing prose and poetry. The children used animals, fables and their own experiences to shape the content of their writings, Iuppa noted. For example, Sarah Doty, a sixth-grader, likened her own characteristics to some interesting images in the following work:
“My stress is hot like a burning house in July … My love is as strong as metal … My curiosity is as wild as the colors in the sky … My anger is as nice as the people who killed Jesus.”

The anthology is the fruit of a 10-week creative writing residency by Iuppa, whose work was funded through the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, the New York State Legislature and the New York State Council on the Arts. Iuppa, who is also writer-in-residence at St. John Fisher College, worked with the school’s staff to help the students integrate their language-arts work with their social studies.

“This residency was designed to promote the students’ deeper appreciation of who they are in their communities, family, school, neighborhood and so on, and develop a further understanding of the cultures they have been studying in social studies,” Iuppa wrote in the anthology’s foreword.
An example of such integration of social studies and language arts can be found in Shakiera Butler’s story imagining herself as a teenager witnessing the Boston Tea Party.

“All I hear is war, and I am angry,” the fourth-grader wrote. “I see people throwing tea into the Boston Harbor. I am on the street and I hear shooting. I get scared and run home to my ma, and she said, ‘It’s all right, child, Mama’s here.'”

The students also created artwork that was displayed in the school gymnasium, along with their poems, on “Authors Day,” which took place on April 21. Parents and school supporters were on hand for the celebration, including representatives of the governor’s office, the state Legislature and the Rochester City Police. The assembly listened as each child read from their work.

“My history moves like wind going through the grass,” said Brandon Wyant, a sixth-grader. “My silence sounds like a TV on mute.”

Iuppa said she was impressed with the students’ efforts.

“It gives the students an opportunity to look at their core studies creatively,” she said of the program. “I thought they had an understanding of the literary devices such as simile and metaphor.”

Briana Chamberlain, a fifth-grader, said she liked learning how Native Americans used animals and other natural items as totems, or images, somehow linked to themselves. “I am an ocean, hear my quiet waves at night,” she wrote. “I am a star, I light the night.”

“Once they give you a certain assignment, you can put in what you really feel about it, like extra details,” she said of the writing program. “You can put in what you really want.”

Holy Rosary’s principal, Mary Beth Fuehrer, said the writing program was well-received by the student body.

“This is a celebration of all of their talents,” she said.

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