All Day Poetry for Lawrence High; Public Events in Evening


Friday, October 19, MassLEAP, the youth arts programming arm of MassPoetry, takes part in a day-long poetry festival for students at Lawrence High School.  The event has required the cooperation of The Frost Foundation, Andover Bread Loaf,  and MassPoetry as well as Rich Gorham of LHS. An evening program is open to the public and will feature Gordon Clapp (star of NYPD Blue) as well as readings by local poets.

Since Robert Frost was a graduate of Lawrence High, Mark Schorr, Executive Director of the Frost Foundation, believes the high school is a perfect place for the event. “In 15 years of doing festivals, we’ve [the Frost Foundation] used the high school facilities for famous author visits, such as Seamus Heaney’s, but we’ve never attempted a full day of poetry within Robert Frost’s alma mater.” The Frost Foundation is providing the funding for the festival.

Gorham says, “We will have 10 workshops across five different schools on the LHS campus that will directly impact 200 students. Not to mention the afternoon performance where we should see at least 500 students present.

MassLEAP and Andover Bread Loaf will provide a team of workshop leaders for the morning sessions. Amanda Torres, Co-founder and Program Director of MassLEAP, recruited spoken word artists to work with students. She is especially enthusiastic about having students excited about the day. “MassLEAP will have renowned poets and performers such as Sofia Snow, co-founder of the Not Enough Mics collaborative, read a few pieces and get everyone out of their seats.”

The afternoon will be star-studded with both Snow and Gordon Clapp (Emmy Award winning star of NYPD Blue and other fine roles) in a performance of Frost. Clapp recently starred as Frost in the one-man play This Verse Business at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Lawrence High students from the performing arts program will give a dance and music presentation. And the afternoon will be topped off by a high energy open mic to which students will bring pieces they created in their workshops. Torres says, “This is where Lawrence High students will get a chance to take to the stage and tell their own stories through verse.”