by Mary Rechner
This year’s end-of-WITS residency reading for Madison High School was warm, wonderful, multidisciplinary, and intergenerational. Students and their teachers and writers read poems and prose, sang songs they’d written, free styled rapped, and one student performed a monologue from August Wilson’s play Seven Guitars in order to prepare for the August Wilson monologue competition.
During the fall semester at Madison, students in Kelly Gomes’ period 6 and 8 Creative Writing classes worked with WITS writer Jamie Houghton. Students in Ben Grosscup’s Songwriting class worked with poet Amy Minato, and Doug Jenkin’s 3rd period English class worked with WITS writer Mark Pomeroy.
The work shared by students and adults at the BiPartisan reading explored experience, identity, and the passage of time. Surprising settings included Christmas at Nordstrom’s and Government Camp on Mt. Hood, as well as a frog pond. Some of the student songwriters accompanied themselves on guitar while they sang, and others had teacher Ben Grosscup accompany them. Such was the case on the humorous song, “Girl Walking Down the Hall.”
The audience of 28 parents, friends, and community members fully appreciated each poem, rap, story, monologue, and song. Thank you to all the students, teachers, and WITS writers for making the Madison residencies a success and the reading so much fun.