Eloise Turner, a retired Texarkana, Ark., School District teacher, recently shared her love of poetry with several community members in a presentation called "Poetic Interpre-tations."
She performed interpretive readings of several of Maya Angelou's works, including "When I Think About Myself" and "Phenomenal Woman," and some works by Shel Silverstein, Langston Hughes, Soujourner Truth and Harrriet Tubman.
The event was held at the Texarkana Public Library.
Turner wants community members to recognize poetry's effect and influence on our lives, a lesson she enjoyed teaching her students during her 42-year career.
"Poetry tells a story. If you can get their attention, then they can learn other things. It is art and the kids need that art along with the academics. You can lose yourself in a poem. I really enjoy it," she said.
The audience at the library enjoyed the presentation.
"Ms. Turner's performance was absolutely stellar and I truly enjoyed it. I certainly hope that there will be a repeat performance or that she will be invited back to the library for more poetry renditions. I know that I will definitely make myself available to attend any such program in the future," said Andrew Hill, Texarkana, Ark., School District business manager and pastor of Eleventh Street Baptist Church.
Turner said she became interested in poetry at an early age because of her maternal grandmother, Cara Dixon Nash. Each Friday and on some holidays, the Turner girls would recite poetry. At the encouragement of Maxine Hodge, one her teachers at Booker T. Washington High School, Turner pursued an education in English and French.
During Turner's career, she taught seventh through 12 grades.
She has been invited to several schools and businesses to perform her poetic interpretations.
Other attendees at the library performance admired several aspects of Turner's presentation.
"Ms. Eloise Turner, who is an African American, commented on a variety of cultural and social issues The youth and adults saw a genre of poetry acted out and interpreted," said Felicia Smith GED instructor at Southwest Arkansas Community Counseling Center.
Dr. Dorothy Nash Hudson, a retired educator, said she was captivated by Turner's eye contact, body language and gestures in "When I Think About
She enjoyed the one-woman show and said though it was sad, it was positive and encouraging, reminding people to never give up.