Canadian International School of Hong Kong

To paraphrase that NPR philosopher Garrison Keillor: The Canadian International School of Hong Kong is a place where the faculty is bright, the facilities are ultra-modern, and all the poets are above average.

Every new school is an unknown destination – whether it is across town or on the other side of the world. But setting up a school visit in Hong Kong means emails, phone calls, travel agents, and a certain amount of risk taking on everyone’s parts. After all the front work (not to mention the 15 hour plane ride from Newark) you sure want everything to go well.

And it sure did. We wrote in groups, we wrote individually, and we practiced our oral presentation skills. The school itself is a ten-story testament to modern learning technology. From the school issued laptops to the well-stocked library the school is all about learning in the 21st century. So here was my question to the students: Why Poetry?

I mean seriously. These kids are multilingual, more digitally literate than your average poet and on the fast track to world citizenship. Why do they need poetry? I asked.

Among the answers:

It helps release what is inside of me.
Poetry helps with self-expression.
It helps us appreciate each other’s differences.
It is fun.
Poetry makes beautiful times more beautiful.

Thank you to Joanne, Tanya and Myrna for all their good spirited hard work in making this visit happen. Thanks to Stephanie for showing us some cool classroom technology tips. Most of all, thanks to the kids for their eager curiosity and welcoming enthusiasm.

Maybe the best part? Michael and I silently standing to the side and watching kids requesting and checking out poetry books in the library after our presentation.


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