A group of writers gathered in a room at the Great River Regional Library Thursday evening, sipping cups of Somali tea and enjoying slices of pie as they perused poetry displayed in little glass centerpieces at the front of the room.
The event celebrated the work of immigrants enrolled in a weekly English language learner class operating out of the La Cruz Community Center. Since 2020, the adult basic education class has been teaching students English and other life skills through the medium of poetry, the St. Cloud Times reported.
Walking around the tables you could read poems about Somalia, adjusting to life in the United States and the emotional journey of leaving one’s homeland and family.
As the class transitioned online in the pandemic, teacher and literary accountability specialist Kelly Travis said the class would read poems together and talk about the feelings some poetry stirred up.
Sometimes they would write poems in class, and other days they would come in and type their poems to improve their computer skills. Then the students would email the poem to their teachers, learning how to write an email and navigate an inbox.