Nationally recognized poet performs reading


Photo Credit: Randi Metsch-Ampel

Nationally recognized poet Ross Gay reads his poetry during an assembly. Gay visited GRHS on April 10 to present his poetry, host a writing workshop, and meet GRHS students and others from a visiting high school. Gay presented some of his poems along with some essays from his new book, “The Book of Delights.”

by Madelyn Willoughby, Copy Editor

Students welcomed nationally recognized poet Ross Gay to the high school on April 10, for a poetry reading and workshop.

Gay began his visit by meeting with the students of GRHS and the visiting students of Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology. He also read excerpts of his writing to a large group of English students in the auditorium. He read some of his poems along with essays from his new book, “The Book of Delights.”

He also hosted a writing workshop for a group of English students later in the day. This included an activity in which students interviewed each other and wrote poems based on the interviews. This gave students the opportunity to write creatively, as Gay encouraged them to use new, unfamiliar elements of writing.

Gay is currently an English professor at Indiana University and has written three books of poetry: “Against Which,” “Bringing the Shovel Down,” and “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.” Gay also won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2015 and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award in 2016.

English teacher and Seven Elements Social Justice Club adviser Randi Metsch-Ampel was inspired to ask Gay to visit the school because she is interested by his poetry and wanted her students learn from him.

Junior Caroline Goldenberg, a member of the Seven Elements Social Justice Club, was excited to hear Gay’s poetry and sat in the front row of the auditorium during the assembly. She attended all of the events within the day and felt it was a valuable learning experience.

“I really liked when we all sat in a circle and introduced ourselves,” Goldenberg said. “It was a nice moment, and it was nice to interact with other people.”

Goldenberg has been participating in the Seven Elements Social Justice Club’s events throughout the year because she enjoys reaching out to the community and giving back.

Simran Kaur Saberwal, a junior and member of the Seven Elements Social Justice Club, also enjoyed the event. She appreciated the opportunity to attend the writing workshop and learn about ways to improve her writing. She was especially interested in listening Gay’s poetry because she felt it was more meaningful to hear him read it aloud and in person. 

“You can read a poem but not truly understand its meaning,” Saberwal said, “but when a person is reading it to you, you really get all of the emotion that comes with it.”

Throughout the year, the Seven Elements Social Justice Club has hosted a variety of events including a Syrian Supper Club and the Moth Story Slam. The Syrian Supper Club provided students and other guests with the opportunity to have dinner with Syrian immigrants. The club was also able to raise money for First Friends, an organization that helps immigrants coming to the U.S., during the Moth Story Slam. This visit was the last Seven Elements Social Justice Club event for the school year.