By Paul Tennant firstname.lastname@example.org 4 hrs ago
LAWRENCE — Mark Schorr, a retired educator and director emeritus of the Robert Frost Foundation, says Lawrence "has become a city of writers."
Examples of that talent were on display Friday night at the Third Annual Greater Lawrence Community Poetry Read at Lawrence High School, from which Frost graduated in 1892. He and his future wife, Elinor White, were the co-valedictorians.
Leida Mane, a Lawrence High student, read a poem she wrote in honor of her brother Nathan. Speaking with passion at a fast pace, she told about how he was "bullied at school."
"They didn't deserve you!" she said. "Being different is not a curse."
James Mora, also an LHS student, wrote a poem about his first name. He has a first name in English, he said, but not in Spanish. His relatives in the Dominican Republic have difficulty pronouncing James – so they call him so-and-so's son, he explained.
Shortly after reading their work, Leida and James went to another poetry reading at El Taller on Essex Street.
Karen Kline, the former poet laureate of North Andover who has promoted poetry in the schools, read "To My Dear Children" by Anne Bradstreet, America's first published poet. Bradstreet lived and wrote in North Andover – it was still part of Andover at that time – in the 17th century.
"To My Dear Children"
"This book by any yet unread,
I leave for you when I am dead,
That, being gone, here you may find
What was your living mother's mind.
Make use of what I leave in love
And God shall bless you from above."
Kline read this poem to the accompaniment of a flute played by Michael Finegold.
Devin Finnegan, a high school student who is North Andover's junior poet laureate, read three short poems he wrote, including one about the American dream.
Ken and Nadine Delano, who succeeded Kline as poets laureate of North Andover, performed a very dramatic reading of "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes.
"And the highwayman came riding —
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door."
It's such a sad story. Bess, the innkeeper's daughter, is in love with the highwayman. When the Redcoats, intent on capturing the highwayman, come to the inn, they tie up Bess and position a musket next to her.
When the highwayman approaches the inn, she frees her hands enough to fire the musket, which warns her lover but kills her. When her lover realizes her fate, he furiously rides back to the inn – and gets shot dead by the Redcoats.
Yulissa Nuñez, a Lawrence High School graduate who now teaches English at her alma mater, read "I Teach" by Se7en the Poet. Se7en – that's how he spells it; it's pronounced "seven" – teaches with "passion, purpose wisdom."
"I hate it when students give up on themselves," he says.
Jessica Valentin, acting director of the Lawrence Public Library, read "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou. She dedicated the poem, she said, to "Lawrence kids" – of which she is one.
Schorr read Frost's "Tree at My Window," which includes the line, "Let there never be a curtain between you and me."
Schorr said Frost's poem inspired him to write "Leaf at My Window" in which he urges the leaf to hold on as long as it can before announcing its fall.