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Celebrating Queer Poetry of New England: BFA Students attend Sundog ‘Justice & Poetry’ Event

Larissa Hebert
BFA Students hard at work on original poetry during James Crews’ workshop.

On July 28, a group of Bellows Free Academy students had the opportunity to attend Sundog Poetry’s annual, ‘Justice and Poetry’ event, which celebrates poetry and marginalized identities in New England. 

This was the second time Bellows Free Academy students were able to attend ‘Justice and Poetry,’ since it was introduced last summer. Larissa Hebert, a former Bellows Free Academy English teacher, brought a group of students to the event as an Academy Breakout field trip. 

Hebert said she has worked with Sundog Poetry since 2015 to organize and implement their “Share Your Heart, Share the World” poetry event for Vermont students, which Hebert typically brought her classes to. 

When Hebert heard about BFA’s summer programming, she realized Sundog’s “Justice and Poetry” would be a great enrichment opportunity for students. Now, the event is an annual opportunity.

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The theme of this year’s reading was “Celebrating Queer Poetry,” following last year’s theme of, “Celebrating Indigenous Poetry of New England,” which was also attended by several BFA students. It highlighted LGBTQ+ poets in and around New England, and was hosted at Karma Bird House in Burlington.

Prior to the actual celebration, BFA attendants received a special treat: a private poetry workshop with James Crews. Students read several poems from Crews’ poetry anthology, “The Path to Kindness,” and had the opportunity to work on, share, and discuss their own inspired poems. 

“The workshop was a great space for me to listen to others’ poetry, share mine and learn about the impact that poetry can have on our world,” Jess Southwick (‘24) said.

Students then moved on to the main event: an in-depth poetry reading and performance, which featured a variety of regional poets. Some of those featured in the event were James Crews, Harmony Edosomwan, Holly Painter, Beck Anson, and Tatiana Bruno. 

“It was a great opportunity to meet with local poets,” Quinn Stanley (‘24) said.

There was also a well-liked intermission performance of a few songs and poems by BFA alumni, Elio Haag. 

“Elio was so good,” Alden Heskett (‘26) said.

Students also enjoyed refreshments and dinner, which were provided by Edosomwan’s catering company, “Harmony’s Kitchen,” which specializes in African soul food.

“The food was fantastic,” One student said. “Really tasty.”

Overall, the event seems to have been a success in the eyes of BFA students.

“The Sundog Poetry event was a fantastic place to hear like-minded people artfully share their experiences with social justice issues in Vermont,” Southwick said.

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About the Contributor
Rachel Ledoux
Rachel Ledoux, Editor-in-Chief
As a senior, this will be Rachel’s fourth year as a writer for The Mercury and her second year as an editor. Rachel enjoys writing for The Mercury as a way of improving her reporting skills and amplifying the voices of her peers. In her free time, she likes reading, social organizing and volunteering. Rachel is also Editor-In-Chief of the Yearbook, Stage Manager for the Theatre Department, and youth representative on the St. Albans City Committee on Energy & Climate.

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    Larissa HebertOct 26, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    Rachel, I was so excited to see this posted. Thank you for covering the event!!
    Mrs. Hebert