Poetry and the Children Day brings hundreds of gifted young poets to campus
About 400 students from 33 schools and 12 school districts met Wednesday, May 22, in the Osterhout Concert Theater for the 36th Annual Poetry and the Children Day. After the opening presentation, students presented their poems in readings throughout the Fine Arts Building.
This year’s guest poet was Binghamton University’s own Professor Liz Rosenberg, author of more than 30 award-winning books, including novels, poetry and more than 20 books for young readers. Rosenberg, who considers it an honor to serve as the guest poet, said she feels hopeful and happy to be in the presence of so many gifted young poets.
“I’m always touched and amazed by their sensitivity to life and to language, to the nuances of what is around and inside them,” she said. “Given the chance, children write about funny things and silly, light-hearted things, but also about serious and essential things like family, friendship, loss and love. To be in the presence of a young poet is to be in the presence of a fresh mind, as they say in Buddhism − and that is incredibly refreshing.
“Poetry is for everyone. It’s for all of us,” said Rosenberg. “Poetry cares nothing about age or degrees. This day reminds me of that fact, and keeps me humble and sane.”
The program, which brings students together for a day of poetry readings, was established as a memorial to Robert Pawlikowski, a published poet, creative writing instructor and campus administrative assistant who drowned in 1975 while on vacation with his family. The event is a tribute to the efforts Pawlikowski made during his lifetime to nurture the expressive and intellectual powers of his students as well as those of his own children.