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,
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
“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
“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.
and I’ll turn away from the thrift shop,
walk back home,
take out my flute,
and play again.