Crossroads News

Paul Cummins Recites Poetry With Upper School Creative Writing Class

Junior Farol Seretean arranges for Paul to share his poetry as part of launching an online art platform at Crossroads.
Community, connection and art came to life when Crossroads co-founder Paul Cummins joined Alan Barstow’s Creative Writing class two weeks ago. The live reading was arranged by Farol Seretean, a confident, self-directed Crossroads “lifer.”

The class of juniors and seniors are currently creating an online experience for art that can’t be captured in their student-run print magazine Dark as Day (DAD). When thinking about a digital version of DAD, Farol thought of Paul, who has published two volumes of poetry. She was inspired by Crossroads’ 50th anniversary celebrations and curious about the people who have made Crossroads such a great place. 

“He’s this great poet. … I wanted him to come in and actually read aloud for my class, and get to meet him,” Farol reflected.

Both Farol and Alan agreed how important it was to capture such a pivotal figure in the School’s history within their new online platform and to share his art with the greater community. Since the Kirschner Family Room houses the Paul Cummins Poetry Collection, Farol decided it was the perfect backdrop to film his reading for the DAD website.
During the visit, Paul recited three of his poems, and the students were engrossed in his words, snapping their fingers in appreciation. Lucia Cortes, a junior, noted “[Paul] has a way of captivating an audience and keeping them engaged with what he’s talking about.” She added, “Paul spoke on his process as a writer, and it was very helpful for someone who aspires to be a professional.”

Recognizing the value of the students seeing “what it means to be a working writer,” Alan emphasized, “Here’s Paul, who is a life-long educator, but also a writer. Young people today feel like they have to be so specialized. And the answer is no, we don’t. We just have to feed all the parts of our being.” 

For Farol, the day was entirely gratifying. Reveling in the anticipation of Paul’s arrival, she felt proud of her accomplishment in creating the event. “It was great to know that I made not just myself happy, but Alan and all the other students.” Beyond that, she learned from Paul that “it’s important to sit in a circle and tell our own stories, find our core and be more human and connected.” 

Alan, now in his 11th year of teaching at Crossroads, agrees. He believes the students were left with knowing “the importance of capturing the arts and sharing that with the community … and how that can impact and bring the community together.” 

For a video of Paul’s presentation, click here (you will be prompted to log in). While there, please take the time to explore DAD online.