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Students Recite At Poetry Caf
Third grader Brooklyn Gonzalez, left, and teacher Cindy Bellinger pose in their best beatnik garb at the Cloverland Poetry Caf. Brooklyn later took the stage to recite her original poem she called The Crazy People. - photo by Contributed

Cloverland Elementary School third grade teacher Cindy Bellinger and her students held a Poetry Café night at school on April 4.

Bellinger said that after the students study and write poetry for a month, they celebrate their finished pieces by opening a Poetry Café and invite their parents and other family members to the evening event. The audience was also invited to read poems during the open mic session of the café.

“We transform a common area of our school into our Poetry Café. We cover TV trays with black tablecloths, create a stage with a microphone for the student readers, serve snacks, and turn the lights down low to set the mood,” Bellinger explained. “Students are asked to wear black shirts and jeans to honor the beatnik culture in which poetry readings at small coffee shops were popular. The audience members are even encouraged to snap their fingers instead of clap for our poets.”

This the third year Bellinger has put on this event, due to a grant from the Oakdale Education Foundation.

“The grant helped pay for the microphone, candles, books, and posters that help make the event so special. I look forward to continuing this activity for years to come,” she said.