Celebrate National Poetry Month with poetry slam at the library

Celebrate National Poetry Month with poetry slam at the library

April 25th, 2012 by Emily Crisman in Community Signal Mountain

Signal Mountain High School senior Ann Schmidt is holding a poetry slam to raise funds to print the school's literary journal. The community is invited to read or attend Saturday, April 27 from 4-5:45 p.m. Photo by Emily Crisman

Signal Mountain High School senior Ann Schmidt is...

Signal Mountain High School student Ann Schmidt is holding a poetry slam at Signal Mountain Library to raise money to print the school's literary journal, which she is editing as her senior project.

Open to the entire community, the event is scheduled for Saturday, April 27 from 4-5:45 p.m. The suggested donation for attendees is $3.

"Anyone can come and read," said Schmidt, who will be reading some of her own work and has also invited friends from school. "We really want to be open to the community and anyone who wants to come."

She said she is unsure what the final cost for printing the journal will be, as she has not yet determined the number of pages and other important factors.

Schmidt was on the journal staff as a junior when a senior started it last year for his senior project. Schmidt said she enjoys English and language arts and would like her future occupation to involve writing. She said she feels the experience has taught her how to overcome a few of the obstacles editors face, such as staying organized and being a good leader.

"Everyone on staff was really good, but with everyone being busy it was hard to stay organized," she said.

Another challenge was getting students to submit material, said Schmidt.

"Getting students interested in writing for fun instead of writing for school is difficult," she said.

The school quit offering creative writing as a class this year, which Schmidt said added to the challenge.

To help fill the journal, she held contests for students in categories including short stories, college essays, poetry, cartoons, music and video. The college essays submitted for inclusion were judged by the school's college counselor, and local poet and SMHS parent Laurie Vaughen selected the poetry winner. Schmidt said she judged the remaining categories based on creativity, originality and quality of work.

"I definitely got a lot of work from freshmen and sophomores," she said, adding that she feels that speaks well for the future of the journal, now in its second year. "I like editing because I like reading other people's stuff and giving helpful hints to help them get better."

She said she feels the journal is a perfect representation of the material the staff received.

"Getting it printed will be the best part," she said. "I like seeing people get excited about it."

The journal will be ready to go to print this week and will be available soon at the school as well as the library. The cost will range between $5 and $7, depending on the cost of printing and how much money is raised at the poetry slam.

Schmidt said the advice she would give junior Davis Mills, who is taking over editing the journal next year, is not to stress too much.

"Put forth the effort but don't worry about it," she said. "Don't expect the perfect journal."

Part of the requirements of her senior project was to put together a portfolio outlining the difficulties she encountered and how she was able to overcome them. She said she will pass this along to Mills and next year's staff.

"Hopefully that will help them not make the mistakes I made," said Schmidt.

Signal Mountain Library is at 1114 James Blvd. and can be reached at 886-7323.