WritersCorps Live in the City by the Bay

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On March 7, 2013, WritersCorps and the Contemporary Jewish Museum joined forces for the third year to present WritersCorps Live at the CJM, featuring award-winning author Tamim Ansary, along with WritersCorps teaching artist Minna Dubin, and 8 students from 8 different WritersCorps sites in San Francisco.

As an organization employing professional writers and teaching creative writing to underserved youth, it is important to us at WritersCorps to have a connection to the city’s literary scene, which is exactly why we participate in public events. A bit about us: we are a joint project of the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Arts Commission and have helped nearly 18,000 youth from neighborhoods throughout San Francisco improve their literacy and increase their desire to learn. We publish award-winning publications, produce local and national events, and are part of a national alliance with sites in the Bronx and Washington, D.C. In 2010, we were honored with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House, presented to us by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Before the reading began, about 80 WritersCorps students were treated to a private tour of Kehinde Wiley’s exhibit “World Stage: Israel,” by interns from CJM’s Teen Art Connect program. Our students thoroughly enjoyed the thought-provoking art and group discussion.

After the tour, students enjoyed some pizza while Tamim Ansary fielded their questions about being a professional writer, and signed their copies of West of Kabul, East of New York. (Thank you to Picador for their generous donation of copies of the book for our students!)

Savannah from Downtown High School started the reading off with a poem called “How to Dance with Wolves.” She was followed by DeAsia, from the WritersCorps Apprentices program, who read a poem that she shared on KALW’s Crosscurrents a few days earlier (check it out here).

Another highlight included Karla, from Hilltop High School, sharing a brave and moving piece on motherhood. Two of our students at the Woodside Learning Center inside the Juvenile Justice Center were represented by two short films of their poems which were screened.

Finally, our featured reader, the award-winning writer Tamim Ansary, treated us to an excerpt from West of Kabul, East of New York, his memoir about his family’s immigration from Afghanistan to San Francisco.

We are always happy to offer a space for our students to share their work and to let the community in on what we are doing.

The next WritersCorps event is Poetry Projection Project — a short film fest based on youth writing — on Saturday, April 13, 2 pm, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. More info on that here.

Alexandra Wilder

Program Associate, WritersCorps

WITS Alliance Goes to Boston

boston_small by nina goffi in poets & writers
Boston by Nina Goffi
published in Poets & Writers 2011

WITS Alliance Schedule of Events
AWP 2013 in Boston
Hynes Convention Center

WITS Alliance Booth # 210

Wednesday, March 6
WITS AWP Day of Service
12:00-4:00 p.m.

WITS Alliance Membership Meeting
Room 209, Level 2
4:30-5:45 p.m.

Thursday, March 7
WITS Writers on Teaching: A Reading
Lacy M. Johnson, Giuseppe Taurino, Miah Arnold, Stacy Parker Le Melle, Nicole Zaza
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

A Reading from Writers in the Schools [WITS Alliance]
Alise Alousi, Bao-Long Chu, Michael Dickman, Tim Seibles
Room 201, Level 2
1:30-2:45 p.m.

Rowing Your Boat across the Curriculum [WITS Alliance]
Amy Swauger, Sarah Dohrmann, Margaret Dougherty-Goodburn, Andrew Proctor, Terry Ann Thaxton
Room 102, Plaza Level
4:30-5:45 p.m.

WITS Alliance Reception
Room 303
7:00-8:15 p.m.

Friday, March 8

Informal Drop-In Breakfast 8:30 – 10:00

New Location: Sheraton lobby, near the Starbucks
Trident Booksellers and Cafe‎
338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 267-8688
tridentbookscafe.com‎

Founder’s Toolkit: How to Start a Non- Profit in Your Own Backyard [WITS Alliance]
Long Chu, Allen Gee, Janet Hurley, Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Jerome Vielman
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

Phillip Lopate Book Signing
WITS Alliance Booth #210
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Fundraising with Individuals – Crafting the Story [WITS Alliance]
Jack McBride, Kate Brennan, Lee Briccetti, Michele Kotler
Room 102, Plaza Level
3:00-4:15 p.m.

Saturday, March 9
Writing to Change the World: Social Justice and Youth Writing Programs [WITS Alliance]
Janet Hurley, Tamiko Ambrose Murray, Glenis Redmond, Christina Shea, Terry Blackhawk
Room 208, Level 2
12:00-1:15 p.m.

Where in the World is the Writer in Residence? [WITS Alliance]
Cecily Sailer, Alise Alousi, Tina Angelo, Josephine Jones
Room 102, Plaza Level
3:00-4:15 p.m.

WritersCorps Rocks Litquake

CAnetsberger_LitQuake2012_41

WritersCorps, a WITS Alliance organization in San Franciscowas thrilled to be a part of Litquake again this year, the annual literary festival that brings hundreds of writers and thousands of literature lovers to San Francisco for a fun-packed week of events. Our teaching artists and students read on Saturday, October 13, 2012, as part of Lit Crawl, the last hurrah of the Litquake fest for the year which features three hours of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction readings in bookstores, bars, art galleries, restaurants, stores, cafés, laundromats, and community spaces in SF’s Mission district.

As an organization employing professional writers and teaching creative writing to underserved youth, it is important to us at WritersCorps to have a connection to the city’s literary scene, which is exactly why we participate in events like Litquake. A bit about us: we are a joint project of the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Arts Commission and have helped nearly 18,000 youth from neighborhoods throughout San Francisco improve their literacy and increase their desire to learn. We publish award-winning publications, produce local and national events, and are part of a national alliance with sites in the Bronx and Washington, D.C. In 2010, we were honored with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House, presented to us by First Lady Michelle Obama.

At Lit Crawl, WritersCorps packed the house at gift shop Serendipity. Teaching artist Rose Tully read an excerpt from a short story in which Crisco played a starring role. harold terezón read a series of poems, including one made up of all the names he’s ever been called. Carrie Leilam Love, true to her name, read a series of love poems. Roseli Ilano read an excerpt from her story, “Treasure.” Minna Dubin read from a prose piece. Anhvu Buchanan read a bromance ode to Jeremy Lin. Representing our students, Indiana PehlivanovaEvelyn León, and Roger Lopez read from recent work.

CAnetsberger_LitQuake2012_24

Though the entire reading was a success, a particular highlight was Evelyn reading a poem about her father and bringing him, and nearly everyone else present, to tears.

To see all of the photos from the event, click here. To see all of the videos, click here. Thanks to Litquake, all of our teachers and students, and photographer Cole Anetsberger!

by Alexandra Wilder

Program Associate, WritersCorps

Poet Dean Young Visits WITS – Seattle

Students at the Hutch School had a visitor last week. Through the Seattle Writers in the Schools program, prize-winning poet Dean Young stopped by and did some writing with the kids. Jeanine Walker describes the it this way:

Dean brainstormed with the students, paraphrasing for them something Apollinaire once said: Poets imagine, and science and technology catches up. Across the street, construction was going on. “We’re going to help those builders,” Dean said. “What could we make a building out of?” The kids tossed around ideas: candy, spaghetti, shoes. Dean then had the students draw pictures of their buildings and write poems from those pictures, which they shared with the poet at the end of the hour.

For the complete story, click here.  The Seattle Writers in the Schools is part of Seattle Arts & Lectures. Their program serves students in dozens of local schools in the Puget Sound area.

Planning a Literary Summer Vacation

New Orleans by Nina Goffi (Poets & Writers)

If you want to take a more writerly approach to your summer vacation, Poets & Writers has got your back. Check out their collection of City Guides. These guides were written by notable writers, and they take you to some of the literary sites. They cover cities large and small, from Boston to San Francisco to Iowa City. This is a great resource for the mindful traveler– enjoy!

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