Poetic Signs of Third Place: A Case Study of Student-driven Imitation in a Shelter for Young Homeless People in Copenhagen

Christina Matthiesen


During a series of writing-workshops at a shelter for young homeless people in Copenhagen, I  examined to what extent the literary practice of student-driven imitation with its emphasis on self-governance and a dialogical approach can engage marginalized learners in reading and writing. I found that student-driven imitation had the potential to engage different kinds of writers and that they adopted  the practice with ease and confidence. In addition, I experienced, that the residents’ preferred genre was poetry and that they generally sought a neutral space with low attention to social status, characterized by dialogue and a homely feel. This space is comparable to Oldenburg’s third place, and I suggest that poetry is a textual marker of this space.   

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.