To interest youth in poems, Alice Quinn borrowed a trick she learned from a fifth-grade teacher in L.A., and turned writing them into a game.
The teacher gave his students envelopes with a famous poem sealed inside and its first line written on the outside. They’d have to write their own poem using the first line as a starting point — before opening the envelope.
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Quinn, the director of the New York-based Poetry Society of America, brought the Envelope Project to the five boroughs two years ago for the city’s annual Poem in Your Pocket Day — which is today. Mayor Michael Bloomberg will start the festivities in the Bronx to coincide with a N.Y. Botanical Garden exhibit on Emily Dickinson.
“First lines of these great, classical poems tend to be very suspenseful,” Quinn said. “People are wooed into them.”