Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Traveling troupe visits school kids

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        KINGS MILLS — Some of them are still learning to spell, but Kings Mills Elementary students are no strangers to the writings of Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks and e.e. cummings.

        They recently heard poems of those and other authors recited and dramatized by two actors from the performance poetry company Poetry Alive!.

        The Asheville, N.C., business has five full-time teams, or 10 actors, on the road performing poetry shows across the nation.

        Students participated, too, some pretending to be girls on a beach, plants or an octopus depending on the theme of the poem.

        Second-grader Zac Munz, 8, was a rhinoceros for a few minutes as the Poetry Alive! performers read a poem by Ogden Nash.

        “I like poetry,” Zac said later.

        “It can be fun, it can be scary, and it can be funny.”

        That's the idea, said performer Ciro Viamontes.

        “The main mission is to make poetry interesting for students because it has kind of faded out of popu larity,” he said.

        Kings Mills students howled with laughter at the funny poems by Nash and listened intently at the more serious poems of Hughes or Brooks.

        “I loved it,” 7-year-old Lauren Kean said of the performance.

        “And I really like poetry.

        “I think it's fun to write poems, fun to listen to them and fun to act them out.”


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