Spencer Reece waves hello with students at the Honduran orphanage where he taught, the subject of a James Franco-backed documentary. Photo by Dr. Diana Frade.
Spencer Reece, a Minnesota-raised poet, Episcopal priest and graduate of Breck High School, has attracted the attention of James Franco for his inspiring work at the Our Little Roses girls’ orphanage in an impoverished Honduran city. Franco’s production company, Rabbit Bandini, made the documentary “Las Chavas” about Reece’s efforts to help the girls use poetry to heal their trauma. Reece, the film’s director and the orphanage founder, will be at Breck next week for a free screening and post-film discussion (7 p.m. Sept. 24, breckschool.org).
Reece went to live at the orphanage, the only one for girls in Honduras, in the winter of 2012 to teach poetry. The girls’ poems were later collected into a book edited by Richard Blanco – who, coincidentally, the girls watched recite his work at President Obama’s inauguration on their first day of study with Reece.
Now based in Madrid, Reece first won literary acclaim in 2003 for his New Yorker-published poem “The Clerk’s Tale,” about working at Brooks Brothers at the Mall of America. That poem was finally published after “300 rejections from national competitions,” he said. “I was 41 and about to give up.” His second collection, “The Road to Emmaus,” was published last year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is now working on a book about becoming a priest in middle age.