Students to participate in poetry festival

Poetry organization Wider Than The Sky and upper school literary magazine Stone-Cutters will host a virtual workshop discussing bilingual poetry Sunday.

Wider Than The Sky hosts monthly writing workshops for students and an annual two-day festival in April. The workshop will be the third event of the year for Wider Than the Sky and their second collaboration with Stone-Cutters.

The workshop will be focused on how cultural connotations affect the meanings of poetry and will explore what is lost and gained through translation. Students will analyze poems by Julia Alvarez, Rhinia P. Espaillat and Wang Wei.

Wider Than The Sky Festival leader Joie Zhang ’22 said she was motivated by her personal background to host the workshop.

“I was inspired by the themes in Julia Alvarez’s poem ‘Bilingual Sestina,’ which is one of the poems that we will be analyzing in the workshop,” Zhang said. “I have also drawn upon my own experiences as a bilingual second-generation Chinese American writer in the making of this workshop.”

Since Stone-Cutters and Wider Than The Sky will host the event together, Zhang said she coordinated with both groups in order to organize the workshop.

“I am one of the Wider Than The Sky Poetry Festival leaders, and I’m also an editor with the Stone-Cutters Arts Collective, so the organization of this workshop collaboration primarily consisted of me proposing this workshop idea, scheduling a time that fit for both the Wider Than The Sky and Stone-Cutters workshop schedules and then getting feedback from both groups of students to craft this workshop,” Zhang said.

Wider Than The Sky member Dottie Shayegan ’21 said she is looking forward to the upcoming workshop.

“As I’ve helped revive Wider Than The Sky, I’ve been struck by how radically important it is,” Shayegan said. “Wider is not just a one-time experience; it’s a community, a space for student poets to write, learn and grow, a space that unites us.”

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