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The Experience of the Poem: Community in Action

Over the course of the summer, DOROT College Interns are contributing content to our website and social media to share their experiences. 

“Alone together, here we are, stranded in our shared nowhere, marooned in space, while, free from time, meanings proliferate and chime as words, unfettered, dance and rhyme.” - Rachel Hadas, “In the Cloud.”

Earlier this month, writers, readers, and art lovers alike gathered together for DOROT’s Lasting Impressions weekly program, The Experience of the Poem. This conversation, hosted by award-winning poet, Jessica Greenbaum, connected people through common experience, curiosity, and humanness. The conversation was ornamented with bright smiles, pauses of deep curiosity, and intense gratitude for the sharing of art in each other’s lives.

The conversation began with a moment of relaxation to create a calm and safe space to enter the realm of poetry. Deep breaths allowed participants to enter a mind-body-connection that would stay with them throughout the class. As people discussed their emotions and thoughts during the class, it was important to center back to this calmness that was solidified at the very start.

Jessica Greenbaum led the class through three poems by Rachel Hadas, a celebrated contemporary poet. These poems emulated the lived experience of the COVID 19 pandemic in New York City. The conversation was interwoven with Greenbaum’s expert facilitation and participant willingness to share unique experiences in a compassionate, open environment. The conversation was not just about poetry; instead, it was a mosaic of common experiences, empathy, and human connection.

Zoom boxes lit up as poetry lovers agreed on emotions that were evoked from the poem. Hands were raised as poetry structures shifted. Smiles were visible as comments of gratitude were expressed. Many participants agreed that The Experience of the Poem was their favorite morning of the week. Poetry, although beautiful and connecting in itself, became the conduit for human connection. DOROT fosters a sense of community, compassion, and togetherness that was so beautifully represented in The Experience of the Poem.

The class ended with an exchange of gratitude from both Jessica Greenbaum and all participants within the zoom. Writers expressed how they learned so much from the comments that were expressed throughout the class. Many participants also vocalized the importance of viewing, discussing, and analyzing art with people that are willing to listen. This class invited all people to enjoy art, to learn with a talented poet, and to celebrate togetherness.

As the words rhymed on the page, the zoom danced with conversation and community.

-Elise Palumbo

Elise is a rising senior at Fairfield University where she studies Social Work and English. She is serving as a 2022 DOROT Summer College Intern in the Constituent and Community Services Department.