Poetry Can Be About Everything

HoCoPoLitSo Event


Photo of the HoCoPoLitSo Event in the media center during 3rd period. Photo courtesy of Ms.Lee.

“There is something about poetry beyond prose logic; there is mystery in it, not to be explained but admired.” -Edward Young. 

On Tuesday, February 11th, Long Reach High School held a special poetry event presented by poet Teri Ellen Cross Davis from an organization known as HoCoPoLitSo.  

Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) was founded in 1974. The purpose for the nonprofit organization is to expand poetry and literature to people of all ages. Teri Ellen Cross Davis has been with the organization for over 10 years, since her acceptance into the Writer-in-Residence position. The writer-in-residence is assigned to visit the high schools in Howard County and work with students in writing workshops. 

Davis opened the 2020 Long Reach event by introducing herself and her poetry book Haint to the attendees. The book was published in 2016 and won the Ohioana Book Award for Poetry in 2017. 

After the introduction, Davis began to read some of her writings to the students. The poems that she has written have a backstory related to her own life stories. In addition, she went into depth to explain the meaning behind her poems and how poetry can be about anything.

Each stanza has a meaning or is meant to symbolize something; for example, her poems focus on her own personal topics of dealing with adolescence, womanhood, and adulthood. 

  “My favorite part of the event was listening to all of the author’s poems, as well as her explanation of the context she wrote them in,” stated Junior Hannah Mensarisa.  

Davis interacted with the attendees by asking the students to write a poem with the techniques she used in her poems, which was to think about one of the 5 senses. Once everyone finished, a few of the students were given the chance to share what they had written. 

This interaction opened the opportunity for the attendees to express themselves with their writing and receive positive feedback from Davis and those around them. For example, if a student chooses to use the sense of taste, a certain type of food could be used to describe the topic of their poem. 

“The author’s ability to connect with the participants stood out to me,” Mensarisa stated. “Peers of mine who I thought are normally very shy or ‘reserved’ found passion in their own words when the author asked them to write and share a line of poetry of their own,” she continued.  

Davis went on to share some advice for students who are also interested in writing literature: “My first advice would be to read, then write. And when I say read, read vigorously, read voices like your own and voices unlike your own.” 

Additionally, Davis stated how the HoCoPoLitSo organization has impacted her career as a poet. “Being a part of HoCoPoLitSo has introduced me to so many students and schools in Howard County.” The organization believes in the idea to contribute literature and poetry into the lives of the youth and young adults in the county. She added, “I love having the opportunity to share my love of poetry and to help people look at poetry with new eyes.”

Missions and Goals of the HoCoPoLitSo Organization

  1. “To present high-caliber, innovative literary programs in Howard County that celebrate diverse literary heritages and foster literary appreciation in diverse populations, including varying gender, ethnic and cultural identities, age groups, and income levels;
  2. To provide programming for youth and young adults that increases literary knowledge and appreciation and enlarges the audience for contemporary poetry and literature; and
  3. To preserve, document and make broadly accessible literary programming through the HoCoPoLitSo YouTube channel, blog and recorded programming.”


HoCoPoLitSo website: https://hocopolitso.org/about/

Teri Ellen Cross Davis website: https://www.poetsandparents.com/