Stories of Arrival: Refugee & Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project

Somali Sky Omar Refugee Voices

This poem by Omar was written through the Refugee & Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project in Washington State.

Merna Hecht and Carrie Stradley, the Co-Directors of the project, put the poem into context: “Similar to our other students from countries with prolonged war, Omar Abdi, age 15, from Somalia, celebrates what is unique and beautiful about his homeland while at the same time he writes of the violence and danger that war brings. Omar wanted to picture only the beauty of Somalia in his painting, while including more about his country’s struggles in his poem.” The painting was created under the mentorship of teaching artist Melissa Koch.

To learn more about this project, visit their Facebook page.

Marv Hoffman Launches a Blog

Marv Hoffman, the founder of WITS Houston and former director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, has started a blog about his lifelong passion/career in education. You can follow him at http://marvhoffman.com/.

Hoffman is the author of numerous books, including Chasing Hellhounds: A Teacher Learns from his Students (Milkweed 1996) and “You Won’t Remember Me”: The Schoolboys of Barbiana Speak to Today (Teachers College Press, 2007). Having spent many years in the education field, Hoffman’s blog, so far at least, tends to glance backwards, but not in a typical or self-congratulatory way. One essay, The Decline of Daring, also appearing in Teachers and Writers Magazine, begins,

Wisdom is an automatic by-product of age. At least that’s what most people believe, but my experience suggests otherwise.

It is with humor, humility, and love that Hoffman shares his experiences and observations. His blog is a welcome addition to the Internet of ideas.

NYC Summer Institute for Teaching Artists

July 17-19, 2019

WITS Alliance Member Organization Community Word Project will offer a
Summer Institute for Advanced Teaching Artists in New York, NY
Application Deadline: June 15, 2019
Scholarship Assistance Available
Summer Institute is a three-day intensive for Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media
Artists, Musicians, Dancers, and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching. 
  • Deepen your teaching with experiential, inquiry and reflection processes
  • Connect with Teaching Artists from around the country
  • Expand your impact teaching for social justice
  • Explore creative processes and critical thinking
  • Investigate techniques for project-based arts integration
  • Build new strategies for creating a positive classroom culture
Apply Now
Learn More

CREATIVITY FOR CHANGE ~ CalPoets’ 2019 Symposium with Juan Felipe Herrera

For 55 years, WITS Alliance Member Program California Poets in the Schools has brought the powerful magic of poetry creation and performance to over one million students. Our work is more important than ever! Studies show that student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service and lower dropout rates. Creativity is the #1 desired skill in today’s job market. Poetry instruction builds empathy and a sense of belonging in the classroom setting. Poetry and the arts can be a powerful, healing tool for schools and communities recovering from natural disasters and other traumas such as gun violence.

California Poets in the Schools will offer a weekend conference is open to the public and geared towards literary teaching artists, literary arts organizational staff, classroom educators, poets, MFA candidates and more. Content will be engaging for those brand new to teaching the literary arts and to “old hats.” Juan Felipe Herrera will be the special guest!

At this Symposium, workshops will be geared towards the theme of Creativity for Change. How can poetry in the classroom be a transformational tool for positive change? How can our lesson plans respond swiftly with resilience and flexibility to the most pressing issues of our time? How do we need to change and grow ourselves in order to best serve our communities? We will learn from experts in our midst and pool our best practices for a weekend of learning, networking, community-building, poetry readings and some good old-fashioned fun.

Click to learn more and to register:  https://www.californiapoets.org/events/creativity-for-change-calpoets-2019-statewide-symposium-with-juan-felipe-herrera

49 Mission Vineyard Rd, 49 Mission Vineyard Rd, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045, USA

Aug 02, 2:00 PM – Aug 04, 12:00 PM

Celebrating Creativity in Ohio

Big things are happening at The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in Ohio.  Because of their established outreach program, Teaching Poetry in the Schools,  Wick is a member of the WITS Alliance. Their most recent public event engaged the community in the creative process and helped each participant discover more about their personal vision conjured up by the word HOME:

Last weekend the Wick Poetry Center welcomed hundreds of guests to the May Prentice House and Poetry Park. While the second annual Kent Creativity Festival—a collaboration of Kent State University, the City of Kent, Main Street Kent, local businesses and non-profit organizations—provided community members a chance to paint, act, build, and dance, we invited participants to create and decorate poems through our Emerge application. Our guest writers crafted their own poetry from sources including a meditation on our ever-present black squirrels, the history of Kent, and a response to the politics surrounding the renewal of DACA by prominent American writers. Working from these original documents, writers of all ages were able to leap over the daunting anxiety of the blank page and craft their own “found” Emerge poem.

Next, each visitor had the chance to offer up their own original stanza to a growing community poem about Kent:

Kent is the smell of firewood and wet soil after the first rainshower of the year. Kent is music flowing straight into your soul calling you to sing out for the place that is your home. Kent is crunching acorns and car engines. Kent is a rumbling train with a blue heron flying overhead, reflected in a crooked river. Kent is a paintbrush adding the most vibrant colors to every aspect of life.

The Wick Poetry Center, led by poet David Hassler, helps lead a number of national  movements, including the WITS Alliance, Lit Net, and the Poetry Coalition. For more information about their work in Ohio, click here.

Terry Blackhawk Honored for Education Activism in Detroit

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On August 24th, InsideOut Literary Arts Project will honor founder Terry Blackhawk for her visionary work in Detroit Public Schools. This fundraising event, Share the Light, will support education programs serving thousands of inner city students. The gala will take place at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, a masterpiece of world-renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki. The evening will feature live performances by InsideOut students and alum. Supporters can attend the event and/or purchase pages in a tribute book to honor Dr. Blackhawk. For more information, click here.

Summer Institute for Teaching Artists

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornell West

Community-Word Project in partnership with the
Child Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College
presents

Summer Institute 7.0

Teaching Social Justice:
Current Events through Art, Inquiry and Reflection
July 19-21, 2017

For Advanced Teaching Artists
at Sarah Lawrence College & the LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem

Application Deadline: June 1st, 2017 June 9th, 2017
Scholarship Assistance Available

APPLICATIONAPPLICATION GUIDELINES

Summer Institute is a three-day intensive for Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media Artists, Musicians, Dancers, and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching.

  • Deepen your teaching with experiential, inquiry and reflection processes
  • Connect with Teaching Artists from around the country
  • Expand your impact teaching for social justice
  • Explore creative processes and critical thinking
  • Investigate techniques for project-based arts integration
  • Build new strategies for classroom management
See highlights from last year’s workshop in our online
2016 Summer Institute Anthology.Questions? Please contact Katie Rainey attatip@communitywordproject.org
or see more about us at communitywordproject.org

WITS Houston Hosts Danez Smith

This weekend WITS and Meta-four Houston held a free youth slam workshop with Danez Smith at The Pilot on Navigation. Post-rain, students poured into The Pilot’s theater space to hear what Danez would say about the craft of performance poetry. Even WITS writers and educators came out to the event to see what they could……

via Leading with the Body: What We Can Learn from World-Acclaimed Slam Poet Danez Smith — WITS Houston

WITS Alliance Events at #AWP17 in DC

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WITS Alliance
AWP 2017 Schedule
Washington, D.C.
Booth #202

Wednesday, February 8
AWP 50th Anniversary Gala
5:30 p.m.
Independence Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis

 

Thursday, February 9
Dr. STE(A)M-Love, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Technology
1:30-2:45
Room 102B, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Moderator: Jack McBride
Panelists: Rick Brennan, Elyse Eidman-Aadah, Virginia McErneny, Amy Swauger,

As digital technology becomes a given in classrooms of every discipline, educators are experimenting with a wide range of approaches to teaching. These national experts will share their successes and failures in the realm of education 2.0. Examples will include game-based learning, connected classrooms, and digital media production. Panelists will consider the ways in which technology can enhance or detract from student learning in the current STE(A)M environment.

 

Who Runs the World? Women with Power and Purpose
4:30-5:45
Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Moderator: Meggie Monahan
Panelists: Jen Benka, Mahogony L. Browne, Amy King, Lori Pourier

Despite longstanding inequity and gender gaps, women are succeeding as nonprofit literary leaders. Panelists will share the political and theoretical stories that propel them with purpose, as well as the personal journey toward their visions. Additionally, they will provide insight on how women can attain leadership roles, find and become mentors, and be successful agents of change.

Friday, February 10

WITS Membership Meeting
9 – 10:15
Ballroom B, Washington Convention Center, Level Three
Moderator: Robin Reagler

Poetry as Public Art in Public Spaces
10:30-11:45
Room 102A, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Moderator: Tina Cane
Panelists: Kate Brennan, David Hassler, Alice Quinn, Steve Young

In cities across America, public places are becoming the canvas for poets, transforming American cities and communities. With words adorning sidewalks, walls, banners, trains, and trees, poetry ignites moments of joy and cross-cultural connections between people. Panelists will discuss innovative ways to make poetry more accessible and how to foster literary destinations. Examples will range from the commercial to the monumental.

 

From Margin to Center: Developing Diverse Leaders
1:30-2:45
Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Moderator: Michele Kotler
Panelists: Lauren Bullock, James Kass, Ramiza Koya, Brandie MacDonald

Most organizations and university departments seek a more diverse faculty and staff, but the path to diversity goes far beyond placing a classified ad. Despite challenges in creating meaningful change, how can we build opportunities and systems that fuel those most often marginalized? Panelists will discuss how their organizations are investing in leadership development models that nurture a new generation of diverse leaders.

Saturday, February 11
The Resuscitation of Childhood: A WITS Reading
12:00-1:15
Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Moderator: Renee Watson
Panelists: Peter Mountford, Glenn Shaheen, Nina Swamidoss McConigley

For many writers, childhood is an invention, an imaginative construction of the past. For writers who teach in Writers in the Schools programs, the students remind us on a daily basis what childhood truly entails. Students and writers inspire one another in a symbiotic style. This panel celebrates childhood and the ways in which teaching young children can enhance your writing. Four writers who have taught in WITS programs share work by a student and then read some of their own.

 

From MFA to JOB: Making a Living, Making a Difference
1:30-2:45
Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Moderator: Alicia Craven
Panelists: Stephanie Brown, Edward Nawotka, Mohamed Sheriff, Amy Storrow

While tenure-track teaching, publishing, and authorship are often the dream of MFA candidates, the competition for jobs and literary achievements have become increasingly competitive. The creative and nonprofit sectors hold alternative employment possibilities that utilize the craft of writing while making a real difference for communities. This panel ignites the imagination around the journey to meaningful careers that allow MFA graduates to work within a community of writers and artists, cultivate and curate artistic experiences and opportunities, and make a decent living.

Tina Cane Appointed Poet Laureate of Rhode Island

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Tina Cane, the Founder and Director of Writers in the Schools RI, has been appointed the new Rhode Island Poet Laureate. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo said in her announcement: Tina “is a people’s poet. Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to make the arts more accessible, bringing poetry and a spirit of creative self-expression to Rhode Island schools.” You can read more about Tina and her WITS work here and here.