Tuesday, March 12, 2013

H.S. TEACHER MAKES HIS MARK AMONG INTERNATIONAL POETS @ PRINCETON POETRY FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND

WHEN: Friday, March 15, and Saturday, March 16, 2013
WHERE:
Richardson Auditorium, Princeton, New Jersey
ADMISSION: $15 per day; $25 for both days; $10 per day for students
For advance tickets please buy online at University Ticketing or call 609.258.9220

Poets, some of them trailing clouds of glory behind them, will be flocking to New Jersey from all over the world this weekend to participate in the third biennial Princeton Poetry Festival, a presentation of readings and discussions by Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.

Whitehead, who resides in the Hudson Valley, has taught English and creative writing at Tenafly High School in Bergen County for some 15 years. Considering the demands of secondary-school teaching, you have to wonder where he finds the time to write. Then you discover he paints, too, and writes crossword puzzles, some of which have appeared in The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher EducationAmong the poets invited by the university’s own professor and poet Paul Muldoon are Gabeba Baderoon (South Africa), Bei Dao (China), Stephen Dunn (U.S., Pulitzer Prize), Jorie Graham (U.S., Pulitzer Prize), Bejan Matur (Turkey), Don Paterson (Scotland) and Gary J. Whitehead (U.S.), whose new collection of poems, “A Glossary of Chickens,” was just published by Princeton University Press.

Whitehead (above), who resides in the Hudson Valley, has taught English and creative writing at Tenafly High School in Bergen County for some 15 years. Considering the demands of secondary-school teaching, you have to wonder where he finds the time to write. Then you discover he paints, too, and writes crossword puzzles, some of which have appeared in The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As a teacher, Whitehead says he has done everything he can to help grow the creative writing program at Tenafly High School. “It has grown. Student interest in poetry has greatly increased over the years, and a few faculty colleagues enjoy teaching it. We have a great literary journal, Omega, and we’ve tried to get the kids involved by bringing in visiting writers through the Dodge Poets Visit program and participating in Poetry Out Loud. Kids really enjoy slam poetry, the performance aspect of it, and they love ‘Def Jam Poetry’ on HBO.”

And speaking of Poetry Out Loud—a nationwide program for high school students sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with the states’ arts agencies—the Princeton Poetry Festival will open Friday with the 2013 New Jersey Finals. These will determine who will represent New Jersey in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in April. The state finals are the culmination of a statewide performance program that started in the fall, with more than 20,000 students in participation.

Competing will be Hanna Anderson (Mainland Regional High School, Linwood); Callie Mae Bowen (Woodstown High School, Woodstown); Christelle Marie Chua (Mother Seton Regional High School, Clark); Cameron Clarke (Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School, Jersey City); Kavita Oza (The Peddie School, Hightstown); Emily Schider (Morris County School of Technology, Denville); Jessica Sela (Kearny High School, Kearny); and Julia Shapiro (Holmdel High School, Holmdel).