“Poetry @ Park” is an
initiative first developed in 2010 as a part of the University's Missouri Arts
Council, a state agency, grant-supported Ethnic Voices Poetry Series.
The Symphony, a group of four African-American poets has appeared as a part of Park's Ethnic Voices Poetry Series and as part of the Poetry at Park initiative in recent years. The group will conduct two creative writing workshops at Park University’s Parkville Campus, as well as performances at magnet high schools in the Kansas City, Mo., area during the 2013-14 school year. The first workshop took place on March 1, 2013. The second workshop is scheduled for October 4, 2013.
This series of events is made possible through grants the University received from the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Francis Family Foundation. The funding supports activities for Kansas City area high school students that celebrate the power of poetry. According to Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., associate professor of English and director of the Honors Academy, the funding allows collaboration with the Kansas City, Mo., School District, Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools, Prep-KC (Kansas City's Partnership for Regional Educational Preparation) and the American Jazz Museum. Activities allow students to work both online and at the University's Parkville Campus with the Symphony.
In fall 2013, as part of the creative writing workshop, students at Grandview (Mo.) High School, J.C. Harmon High School in Kansas City, Kan., and Paseo Academy in Kansas City, Mo., received copies of poems from a poetry anthology selected by The Symphony. Guided by their creative writing teachers, the students will discuss the anthology selections through an online discussion with each other, as well as with members of The Symphony. The Symphony will appear in performance at Paseo Academy on October 3, and present a free public reading that evening at the American Jazz Museum. During the workshop on Park’s campus on October 4, The Symphony members will help students create poetry and evaluate poems submitted for inclusion in an electronic journal that will be compiled and edited by Park staff to be linked to this website. Park faculty and creative writing students will help facilitate the workshop. Additional activities for the students include a trip to the American Jazz Museum to visit both the jazz and baseball museum facilities.