Day 2, Gordon: the Nebraska Poetry Pen Pal Program Proceeds

After a day like we had in Valentine, everything after just has to be a disappointment, right?


We rolled up at Gordon-Rushville High School not sure what to expect. joe found himself captivated by a metal sculpture of a horse’s head by the main entrance, the principal turns out to be someone I’ve worked with before, and we found my friend Tracy Baker’s senior photo on display with the class of ’92. Okay, good start.

And all three of us had a blast. It was another group of fun students with smart questions, dedicated teachers, and we enjoyed talking in classes and at an all-school assembly. We even found out the sculpture we’d admired wasn’t made by some famous graduate (as I’d thought) but by some of the students we were talking with!

Students directed us to the Fuel Grill for dinner and it was the right move. They have creatively-named sandwiches (I had the Geo Metro, it was delightful) which didn’t disappoint. Then we had time before our Gordon Theater reading and so stopped by the library. On this tour, I’m donating a pair of Nebraska poetry anthologies to the schools and libraries, so we handed them copies of Watching The Perseids and Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology. After that, we also went to Harvest Coffeehouse (Caffeine!), and Joe’s Games for some Asteroids, Defender, pinball, and more.

The Gordon Theater is a great space, fairly recently renovated, for a poetry reading and the students and community came out with a good crowd. It made for a fun, interactive reading, and there were even encore poems requested. Afterward, we talked with a group of students about what it takes to run their own open mic, and we helped connect them with the Theater’s owner and a board member who was there. So, Gordon, we look forward to returning and reading at your open mic!

I was touched, too, as one of the students ran outside and came back to present me with a bundle of sage. It’s an honor to work with these students and spend some time talking about poetry.

Poetry is more than a lesson plan, it’s something special where we get to say who we are, figure out little bits of this world, and listen to others do the same. I feel lucky to get to do this, especially with artists like Zedeka and joe.