In the first of our Grant Recipient essay series, 2020 Spring Seminar participant and Community Partnership Grant recipient Shaloni Pinto (ILR '20) writes of her summer working with the Poetic Justice project.
Click to read the essay booklet online!
Pinto built on Cornell's long-standing collaboration with George Junior Republic High School in Freeville, NY, guiding students through the interpretation of poems and the creation of their own poetic works.
The Poetic Justice project operates both as an interactive online teaching tool and as a club for students at the George Junior Republic High School interested in reading and writing poetry. The high school, originally founded as an "agrarian republic," exists as a separate entity from the William George Agency for Children’s Services, but some students are part of that residential program. The residential William George Agency seeks to create a safe environment for youth with diverse personal situations, individuals with disabilities, or those who have experienced trauma or abuse.
To embrace the diverse perspectives of the students at the high school, Pinto and other Cornell student participants alongside their community partners—staff members at the high school—sought to create an environment where each student felt motivated to share stories through the interpretation and creation of poetry.
Speaking of her experience working alongside students at the high school, Pinto emphasizes the collaborative nature of the program:
"I never “taught” a poem and was careful to avoid a definitive role as the interpreter of its intentions. Our knowledge of our poems stemmed from discussion.
Read more in "'How Do We Start a Poem?': A Poetry Community’s Story" embedded below:
Funded by Humanities New York, Community Partnership Grants pair Cornell students with a regional organizations, such as a libraries, community centers, and museums, to support campus-community collaborative public humanities projects.
Shaloni Pinto is a graduate of Cornell University, with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and minors in Law and Society and English.