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Charleston’s Poet Laureate participates in workshop with Montessori Community students

RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2024

Marcus AmakerCharleston’s first Poet Laureate, Marcus Amaker, conducted a workshop with students from Montessori Community School on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. 

Amaker served as the first Poet Laureate of Charleston, South Carolina, from 2016 to 2022. In 2021, he became an Academy of American Poets fellow. He’s also a prolific performer, the award-winning graphic designer of a national music journal (No Depression), a musician, an opera librettistthe creator of a poetry festival, a teaching artist, and an advocate for youth poets.

The workshop was a culmination of a five-week unit for middle school students on reading and writing poetry. 

Amaker conducted a workshop on self-portrait poetry. He explained that humans are more alike than they are different.

“Poetry allows an artist to express themselves in a unique way,” said Amaker. “No two people will write exactly the same, but we are all so connected in how we feel. Poets and writers tend to rush through trying to find something to write about, but I have found success in coming up with words when I am not trying.”

Amaker walked the students through exercises that required them to look inside themselves at their qualities, traits, gifts, and uniqueness. They then took those keywords and crafted short poems. He left them with continuing exercises that focus on self-portrait poetry.

To wrap up the unit, students will publish their poems to share with friends and families. Additionally, students are eligible to submit their poems to Amaker for possible publication in his annual student poetry book.                                                                              

For more information, contact Principal Rachel Young at (843) 769-0346.