Artist Statement

I'm Kelly de la Rocha, a poet, journalist and founder of poem RENOVATION. Forty years ago, I was a distraught teenager. My parents were divorcing and I turned to poetry writing to help me make sense of my turbulent emotions. During the pandemic, when I once again felt like my world was going to pieces, I found new meaning in those old poems by rearranging their words. That experience became the scaffolding for poem RENOVATION.

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poem RENOVATION is a catalyst for creativity and an aid to literacy. It's also a tool used to sort out and communicate thoughts and feelings. It has found a home in schools, where students are still struggling to overcome COVID's effects on their mental health and academic performance.

There is immense potential for poem RENOVATION to benefit the mental health and continuing care communities, as well.

It's also a really fun daily word puzzle. Who knows? Maybe one day it will join the ranks of Wordle and Spelling Bee.

I'm working to make poem RENOVATION sustainable, accessible and versatile. Those goals are getting closer to fruition thanks to generous mentors and supporters. I've also received invaluable support from the Impact Accelerator program at reSET, a Connecticut-based organization with a mission to advance the social enterprise structure.

Special thanks goes out, as well, to:

  • Site designer Emily Houlihan, who, with great patience, creativity and ingenuity, transformed this dream into a reality, and is helping to orchestrate its evolution
  • Homeschooling mom Becky Burre, who has contributed immensely to the site's creative and academic vision
  • Strategic business operations leader John Melillo, who is steering poem RENOVATION toward a sustainable future
  • Graphic designer Jane Burre and artist Emily de la Rocha, who created our logo
  • Design consultant Jenn Ozgur, who curated the site's color palette
  • SCORE mentor Kathleen Thompson, a longtime cheerleader who has shared so much wise advice
  • Educators Dena Marie de la Rocha, Valerie Wadsworth, Elsa Hjelmar, Renee Doran, Kelly Milosavljevic and Kate McCarroll Moore, who have welcomed me into classrooms and shared expertise
  • The students who have shared their fantastic poem RENOVATIONS and offered input to help improve the site. You inspire me every single day.

~ Kelly de la Rocha, creator of Poem Renovation