Poet laureate Peter Sills listens as a student reads their poem.

Poet laureate Peter Sears listens as a poem is read. 

Peter Sears, Oregon’s new poet laureate, visited Corban on Nov. 21 and held a poetry workshop for students, staff and community members. Sears gave attendees approximately thirty minutes to write and then asked that each one read their work out loud. Sears took the time to give compliments and constructive criticism alike to each writer, as well as read a portion of his own poetry for the remainder of the workshop. Sears provided attendees with three writing prompts to begin with, but also encouraged writers to break away from the prompts as they wished. Sears added that the process of writing – especially poetry – is a special and personal experience. Below you can read some of the poems students who attended the workshop wrote based on the prompts.  

"I See My Mother," by Beau Glitschka

I see my mother is coming toward me

out of the sunset

I cannot tell if she is happy or sad

Everyday is a new day

with either happiness or struggles

I have come to expect anything

Will I rejoice with her or weep with her?

So I'll go to my mom

And be her son

If she's sad

I listen for a while

Let her speak out her troubles

If she's happy

We will smile together

Happiness or sadness

It will be added to our book of memories.

"Ask Me," by Holly Wiegand

Ask me why the sky is blue,

My friend,

And I’ll reply,

“Because the stars have run away with

The man on the moon; he’s

Jealous, you know, of the

Light of the sun, and he

Woos the innocent crystal sparks away

With grand cosmic concertos and promises of

Eternal love and devotion. Can

You see the clouds

Blush at the

Scandalous night?”

"My Mother’s Microwave," by Esther Verbruggen

I see my mother coming towards me out of the sunset,

I can’t tell if she’s happy or sad,

but she’s balancing a microwave on her head

and I’m so impressed by this

that I forget to ask her how she is.

We sit at a table

and she sets the microwave


I stare at the microwave

and don’t look at her face,

I don’t want to know which way

the corners of her mouth are pointing.

She presses some buttons

but nothing happens.

I say we have to plug it in,

but she says there’s no outlet,

and I look around and see

that we’re in the middle of a field.

She says that it’s solar powered

but I say “I don’t think so,

and besides the sun is gone,

you came as it set.”

She presses more buttons and says

“look, it’s working,” but it isn’t.

I look at her face but it’s too dark now.

I want to know if she’s happy or sad

but all I see is a white finger

pressing buttons.

"Ask Me If The Days," by Esther Verbruggen

If I ever pack up my flute

and start to walk to the nearest thrift shop,

ask me if it was worth it.

Ask me if 1 AM practices

were worth the moments when

I stopped being lungs and hands holding a metal tube

and became the sunbeam glinting on the war tanks

and the wind in the chimney,

when I joined the tubas and saxophones and drums

and we became the march and the guns

and the victory cry.

Ask me if the days of fumbled notes

were worth the days

when my flute grew wings

and soared over the audience,

the wingtips skimming their ears

as they whispered

“Look at that, look at that,

I think it knows me,”

and they offered up their hearts

so my flute would carry it,

just for a moment.

Ask me,

and I’ll turn away from the thrift shop,

walk back home,

take out my flute,

and play again.