by Jeanie Riess
In honor of National Poetry Month, the local literacy and tutoring center Big Class is teaming up with New Orleans pizza joints (namely Pizza Delicious, Mid-City Pizza and all the New Orleans locations of Reginelli's Pizzeria) to publish student work on pizza boxes for delivery and pick up. Students ages 6 to 18 are writing poetry on all topics for the Pizza Poetry Project, and their work will be displayed on the boxes on the evening of April 18. A portion of the proceeds from pizza sold that night will support Big Class' free creative writing programs in New Orleans.
As for what kind of verse to expect with your pizza, Big Class Executive Director Doug Keller says the literacy and tutoring center has been receiving poetry "that ranges from an ode to chocolate by an 8-year-old in the Big Class Open Studio after school program to a poem that explores questions of pedagogy from a 16-year-old."
"The idea," he adds, "is to showcase the diversity of student voices and what poetry is capable of, and getting it to as wide a readership as possible through the magic of pizza!"
That being said, Keller admits that many of the poems do tend to be about pizza, which, let's face it, is an understandable muse if you ask me. Big Class, the educational division of Press Street, has received about 100 poems for the project so far. Its goal is 500, and it's still accepting submissions from young writers on its website.
As if you needed another reason to order pizza on the 18th, here's a great video of two Big Class writers explaining the Pizza Poetry Project.