McKinley students recite “Poetry in the Park”

It was a beautiful day for student poetry in the park.

Eleven students from McKinley I.S. 259 gathered to read original poetry at an open mic event on Sunday, May 19 in the Narrows Botanical Gardens in Shore Road Park at 71st Street.

This is the third annual “Poetry in the Park” event, which encourages students to express their love of poetry while enjoying the splendors of nature. The after school program was started by English teacher Jessica Amato and tagged the “Poetry in the Park Club,” where students would meet twice a week to write and read poetry amongst the park’s flowers and greenery.

The pop-up poetry event was well received as two flautists and band teacher Ms. Vargas accompanied the poets, and played music for all the attendees. Amato explained that all of the participating students speak at least two or three languages.

“My student poets, who are learning to speak English as a new language continue to amaze me,” said Amato. “They wrote poems including sensory images for all to visualize.”

At least 50 people came with their lawn chairs to watch the students showcase their work. The two-hour event was a collaboration between the McKinley students and the Narrows Botanical Gardens and supported by Amato, McKinley Principal Janice Geary and Assistant Principals Donna Nastasi and Anthony DeBenedetto.

“In the park with poetry, that’s natural,” said Amato. “It brings out something that you can’t capture in a classroom.”

She called it a community effort to promote literacy, art and a love of poetry.

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