The dying arts

Do kids these days know who Coltrane is or Billie Holiday? Have they seen classic movies like Gone with the Wind or National Velvet? Do they appreciate art and literature; Tintoretto and Rembrandt or the likes of Fitzgerald and Steinbeck? 

What are the things we want to teach our children so they become more well-rounded individuals? I bet the list doesn’t include Gaga, Twilight, American Idol or Brad Pitt.

From an early age I’ve always enjoyed writing, as it came naturally. I’d read books on developing my craft, attended workshops with other creative writing students and was dragged along a few times to poetry festivals, which felt more like a renaissance faire with tents, swords and turkey legs. It was here at the Dodge Poetry Festival in high school that I was first exposed to the world of slam poetry and meeting of the [poet] minds. This festival held in my home state, Jersey welcomes students, teachers, musicians and wordsmiths to the Woodstock of poetry gatherings. I have to say, I’ve met some pretty cool poets – hippies thanks to Dodge – Naomi Shihab Nye, Coleman Barks, Amiri Baraka, Robert Bly, and Billy Collins.

The Dodge Foundation is doing a lot more than educating our youth, they are also helping to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Along with J&J, the Dave Matthews Band, and Newman’s Own, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation supports the New Jersey Recovery Fund.

To me, poetry is not considered a dying art, but a topic I can add to my list of cocktail party conversations. I can speak freely on the abab rhyme schemes, soliloquies in Shakespeare’s works and the art of the haiku thanks to Dodge.

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