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April 15: Carnegie Mellon Poetry Students Spent Semester Mentoring Pittsburgh High School Students


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Carnegie Mellon Poetry Students Spent Semester
Mentoring Pittsburgh High School Students

Their Work Will Culminate in a Public Reading April 20

PITTSBURGH—Students from Carnegie Mellon University's Creative Writing Program and the Literary Arts Program at Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) 6-12 High School will celebrate National Poetry Month with a public reading at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 20 at CAPA's Black Box Theater in downtown Pittsburgh. The event concludes the Carnegie Mellon-CAPA Poetry Project — a semester-long mentoring program between Carnegie Mellon students enrolled in an advanced poetry workshop and literary arts majors from CAPA. Now in its eighth year, the project enriches the education experience for the students and gives them an outlet for creative expression.
"Partnering with CAPA gives my students a taste of teaching poetry," said Jim Daniels, professor of English at Carnegie Mellon and creator of the mentoring project. "It also gets the students out of the classroom and transforms poetry into a living, breathing thing. I do this with advanced students who have the experience to push creative boundaries and the confidence to express themselves through poetry."
Working in pairs, the Carnegie Mellon students give reading and writing assignments to the CAPA students and help them revise their work. For the CAPA students, the mentoring offers personalized guidance, immediate feedback and experience in an undergraduate writing program. The Carnegie Mellon students benefit from the chance to switch roles and think about poetry from an instructor's perspective.
"Some of my students had never visited a college campus before, so to have the opportunity to come to Carnegie Mellon and work directly with college students opens their eyes to options for their future," said Kristin Kovacic, poetry teacher at CAPA.
"The students — high school and college — also enjoy being able to showcase their work," Daniels said. "In addition to the public reading, we publish a book of the work created during the collaboration."
The April 20 reading is free and open to the public.  For more information on the mentoring program, watch this short video featuring Daniels.

Pictured above is Jim Daniels, professor of English.