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The Reflection

Betsy Bergeron, GLHS’s new librarian, is a poet and she knows it

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While Bergeron’s father read her many Shell Silverstein poems as a child, she is especially fond of LOVE. Photo courtesy of Betsy Bergeron.

Gull Lake High School librarian Betsy Bergeron’s first memories of poetry involve her father reading her Shell Silverstein, she recounted. Her favorite piece from her childhood, according to Bergeron, is a four line Silverstein poem called “LOVE.”

“I think that’s probably where it started, honestly, and why my poetry tends to rhyme,” Bergeron said. “So I think that’s really the root of it, those memories.”

However, her love for prose really began to grow when she was in high school, thanks to one of her teachers.

“I always had an interest in writing but I had a really good English teacher,” Bergeron said. “She was super encouraging and always pushed me to do my best.”

Bergeron’s high school English teacher always gave her good feedback and would enter her work in contests, she expressed.

While she had her fair share of writing assignments, Bergeron said (she majored in English in college), she wrote on her own as well.

“I had a journal, so I would write a lot on my own about things I was going through in school,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron noted that her  English classes in school gave her opportunities to share her work, but she didn’t have a poetry club to participate in specifically. She decided to start a poetry club at Gull Lake, to give students a channel to read their poetry and receive feedback from others.

“I didn’t have an outlet when I was in school for poetry and I would have loved somebody to encourage me and have my peers there with a shared passion,” Bergeron said.

Gull Lake’s poetry club, headed by Bergeron, takes place in the media center during seminar on Wednesdays. Anybody that wants to participate in the club can stop by, as long as they aren’t falling behind in their classes and would need that time to catch up academically.

Betsy Bergeron started her job as one of Gull Lake High School’s librarians in the fall. Photo by Annie Thorn.

Bergeron would love to see more interest in poetry club among students, especially underclassmen who will be able to participate in the years to come, so the club continues to grow.

“There’s five girls that participate,” Bergeron said. “All the girls now, except one, are seniors.”

At poetry club, students who participate can expect to work on many different kinds of poetry. So far, the club has worked with blackout poetry, music therapy, and haikus.

“We decide the week before what we want to do,” Bergeron said. “We’re studying different forms, twisting our brains and thinking in new ways.”

At the end of each poetry club meeting Bergeron gives participants time to share what they worked on during that time. Bergeron also emails out a poetry prompt every day that participants can respond to.

“If I really like one of their pieces then I’ll ask them, ‘Hey can I share this at the next meeting?’so that’s really fun too,” Bergeron said.

Poetry readings might take place in the future for poetry club members to share what they’ve been writing, Bergeron reported.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about,” Bergeron said. “There’s no set plan, but it’s definitely something I’ve wanted to do.”

Apart from what she does with poetry at the high school, Bergeron has been involved in a spoken word poetry group called Artlixir Spoken, since the summer when the group first got started. A poet she follows on instagram approached her and asked her to be a part of the group, Bergeron said.

Bergeron describes what spoken word poetry is.

Artlixir Spoken is a global, social-media based spoken word poetry group. Photo courtesy of Artlixir Spoken on Facebook.

Bergeron is one of five poets in Artlixir Spoken, each of whom live in a different part of the world.

“There’s one person from New York, one person from South Carolina, one person from Mumbai, and another person from India I believe,” Bergeron said.

The social media platform of Artlixir Spoken enables participants from all around the world to share their work, Bergeron said.

“Basically what we do is we go on and post videos on youtube, facebook, instagram, of spoken word people around the world. Basically it’s a worldwide spoken word group.”

Artlixir Spoken poets are trying to organize open mike nights around the world, Bergeron explained.

“There was one in Mumbai two weeks ago, and I’m planning on having one here,” Bergeron said.

When she’s not running poetry club or participating in Artlixir Spoken, Bergeron said she writes poems about her personal journey and what she’s going through emotionally.

“I use a lot of imagery, about plants and roots and growth,” Bergeron said. “I write a lot about plants, for some reason I identify with plants, and nature and the things you can learn from your surroundings if you know what to look for.”

Bergon reads one of the poems she’s written.

Bergeron asserted that poetry is a fantastic form of self expression that provides positive relief from the social pressures that students often face.

“It challenges you take how you’re feeling and put it into words that other people would understand using imagery,” Bergeron said. “It just kinda stretches your brain a little bit.”


Annie Thorn
About

This is my first year on staff at the Reflection. I enjoy running track and cross country. I also spend a lot of time volunteering at Gracespring and the Richland Community Library. After I graduate this year, I hope to go to college and pursue a career in public history.

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