In celebration of National Poetry Month, the New Orleans Museum of Art is offering a free poetry workshop on April 8 for students in grades 8–12, led by renowned poet Brod Bagert. Workshop participants will tour the museum and select a work of art that inspires or engages them. Working with a professional writer, students will develop and write a poem. Students are invited to submit their completed poem to NOMA for publication in a soft-bound book that will be mailed to all participants. Experienced and novice poets are invited to apply by March 31.
Brod Bagert is a New Orleans native, a former lawyer and city councilman, and a full-time professional poet. He is the award-winning author of 18 books of poetry for children, young adults, and adults. Bagert’s poems are known for matching the “voice” to the age-appropriate audience, a style that emerged when his then eight-year-old daughter asked him to write a poem for an elocution program at her school. As he explained in an interview, “I write my poems to entertain. So, when the audience changes, the poems change. For kindergarteners I tend to use chanting, repetitious heroic couplets. For third graders I like ballad stanzas with a strong storyline. For eighth graders, free verse shifting in an out of rhyme to match tone and content … The idea of voice is simple; it’s like writing lines for an actor in a movie. Sometimes I write in my own voice, but most of the time I write in the voice of the audience for whom the poem is intended. In a poem for kindergartners, the person talking in the poem is a kindergartner. In a poem for sixth graders, I write in a sixth-grade voice.”
Bagert’s work has received numerous awards, including the International Reading Association’s prestigious Young Adults Choices award, the Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award, the Independent Publisher Gold Book Award, and Mom’s Choices Gold Medal. He has many years of experience teaching poetry. Baggert’s books of poetry for children include Elephant Games and Other Playful Poems to Perform (1995), The Gooch Machine (1997), Giant Children (2002), Shout! Little Poems that Roar (2007), and School Fever (2008). His collections for adults include A Bullfrog at Café DuMonde (2008) and Steel Cables (2008).
SCHEDULE FOR APRIL 8
10 a.m. Meet at main entrance to the sculpture garden for an introduction and tour.
10: 45 a.m. Workshop participants tour NOMA galleries after discussing connections between poetry and art.
12:30 – 1 p.m. Lunch (provided)
1 – 1:45 p.m. Poetry lesson with workshop leaders.
1:45 – 2:45 p.m. Students write poems and revisit galleries and the sculpture garden.
2:45 – 3 p.m. Regroup with workshop leaders.
3 – 4 p.m. Poetry readings in front of selected art works by students and workshop leaders.
NOTE: Students are encouraged to visit NOMA before April 8, 2017, to look at art works ahead of time. It is suggested that they take photos (without flash!) of the pieces in the permanent collection that inspire them.
Teen passes are available by clicking here, or at NOMA’s front desk. (Visitors ages 13-19 are granted free admission to NOMA through 2017 courtesy of the Helis Foundation.)
Only work in NOMA’s permanent collection should be used. These pieces can be identified by the following:
- Artist name or manufacturer’s company, nationality and dates, such as “Antoine-Jean Gros, French, 1771–1835,” or “Johann Goetz-Witwe Glassworks, Bohemia, Active 1840–1940.
- Title of work and date completed (sometimes a date range): Vase with Snake, circa 1895–1900.
- An explanation of how NOMA acquired the piece, for example: Gift of John J. Cunningham
- An accession number, for example: 1977.145 or 56.30
NOMA will provide paper, pencils, and a laptop computer to compose poetry during the hours of the workshop.