Environmentors' Poetic Experience
Rockaway Waterfront Alliance's "Environmentors" recently enjoyed the works of A train poet Derrick Wilson, aka "Blue." Wilson traveled to Rockaway last week for a special workshop on the power of words through poetry. He led students from the NYCHA Ocean Bay Community Center in activities related to expressing their relationship with Rockaway's daily events through poetry and prose.
Students learned about the structure of poetry and created pieces about family life, school, and the environment - paying special attention to topics of playing on the boardwalk by the ocean and the occasional run-ins with siblings and school bullies.
Wilson, who grew up on the tough streets of Harlem, travels the MTA subway each day selling his published works to all those who appreciate his poetry. "I was so impressed by his work and the confidence with which he presented himself," said Jeanne DuPont, director of RWA. "An extremely welldressed gentleman, I thought Mr. Wilson was a great role model for these kids to meet an entrepreneur who was doing what he loved."
Although lighthearted and entertaining, students began to explore many of the simple issues that are reoccurring in their lives that capture Rockaway's timeless enjoyment as well as the heartfelt setbacks that the community has faced.
"WE, ME, is the shortest poem ever written," Wilson announced. "Who was the poet?" he asked. Little would the students know, Muhammad Ali was known for his poetry as well as his boxing and expressed his love of people and social justice through his words.
Students were extremely elated to have such a special guest and shared many of their poems, which will be incorporated in the summer unveiling of RWA art installations along Rockaway Beach Boulevard.