This past week, the Montverde Academy English Department welcomed poet Mia Leonin as guest author for the Spring 2019 Authors on Campus series. Mia Leonin is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Miami and author of several books of poetry, including her most recent book, The Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child (2018).
As part of an experiential field trip, a small group of AP Spanish and AP Literature students accompanied Ms. Leonin to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College to tour a “Transitional Generation” exhibit by Cuban photographer Jose A. Figueroa. As a follow-up, students wrote question and answer prose pieces and ekphrastic, collaborative sonnets. In addition, a focused study of a Cuban photographer could only be followed up by a Cuban lunch at Black Bean Deli in Orlando. That evening, students who chose to attend a reading and Q & A with Ms. Leonin were treated to poetry from her book Chance Born (2016), visuals of several illustrations from The Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child (2018) and their accompanying vignettes, and a discussion of the role and impact of poetry and writing in our times.
As a final part of her visit, Mia Leonin was the guest instructor in morning classes on her last day, leading students in the reading of a poem by Sandra Cisneros, and then in creating similar personal poetic pieces. When asked about their experience with Mia and her poetry, students enjoyed the way she wove together her two languages, English and Spanish to create depth in her poetry and how she could so easily lead them to do the same.
The English Department faculty and students appreciated connecting with a living, writing poet and are grateful to the MVA Administration for creating the space for this unique opportunity to experience contemporary literature!