Preston Public Interest Career Fund Recipient
Young Chicago Authors (YCA) gave Erik a voice and sparked his interest in poetry when he first performed in their poetry festival, Louder Than a Bomb. “I caught the beat of something very alive. The beat of something that kids from across the city were discovering independently, but sharing communally.” Erik brought this beat to Bowdoin as a member of the Slam Poetry Society, but wanted to learn more about the logistics of effectively organizing workshops and other programs. He returned to YCA for a summer “so that I could acquire the skills necessary to make Slam Poetry Society into what I want it to be.”
At YCA, Erik designed and led weekly poetry workshops for community members. He met with multiple teaching artists “and [broke] down their processes for creating inspiration.” Erik then led the workshops he planned, including working one-on-one with students. As he learned, “leading a workshop is easy if the workshop is designed well….Leading a workshop is about revealing what the students know, not what you know.”
Erik’s internship revealed a unique way to make use of his English major after graduation. “YCA was started by an English teacher and is currently headed by an English major. They created a place where artistry, education, and the nonprofit sector meet. This intersection is a place I’d like to visit more.” Although the experience of living and providing for himself in the city posed challenges, Erik gained confidence and pedagogical skills that he will bring to Slam Poetry Society, Bowdoin’s campus, and beyond.
- Date July 19, 2016
- Tags 2016, Arts, Education, First Year, Preston, USA