Students Offer Poems ‘On-The-Spot’ For Charity Funds


Photo Illustration by Ludovica Martella/The Observer


During a “Prose, Poetry and Flash Fiction” class conversation on how to make time up for her class, Professor Elisabeth Frost and her students came up with a very original idea.

On Saturday, April 20, the creative writing class met outside the central entrance of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and offered poems written on the spot to anyone who was interested. While no price was put on a a la carte poem, the class accepted donations with the proceeds going to The Doe Fund, a New York City charity organization that provides work and education to thousands of young homeless people.

Liza Tolkin, FCLC ’13, who is part of the class, said, “We will ask people what they want their poem to be about and then ask them to come back in five minutes to get it.”

“It was entirely spontaneous,” Professor Frost who teaches the  “Prose, Poetry and Flash Fiction” class at FCLC, said, regarding the initiative. “We really liked the idea of having a pamphlet art project that would involve the inputs of what we covered in class,” she said. Frost continued to explain, “We have been working in a very short form because the class covers so much. There is something about the brevity and spontaneity of what everyone is working on writing in class, that seems to lend itself to composing on the spot,” Frost said.

The students of the class are happy to take part in this initiative, yet a little tense. “The exciting part about this is the creative process behind it, which also makes me nervous,” Tolkin said.

The idea of raising funds for charity also came up spontaneously during the class discussion. “One of the students mentioned the CURA, the literary magazine run by the Sarah Gambito, the director of Creative Writing at Fordham, for the integration of the arts and social justice, which this year is sustaining The Doe Fund,” said Frost. “We then decided to destine our funds to them.”

Professor Frost said, “The poems will be distributed on flashcards and signed with a rubber stamp that says: “Written for you by ‘The Poets Are In.'” The title was inspired by the character Lucy of the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz and the sign “The Doctor is In” on her psychiatric booth.