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.

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.

Where To Be at #AWP14

photo by Porter Anderson
photo by Porter Anderson

If you want to learn all about Writers in the Schools (WITS) opportunities across the US and abroad, please join us at the annual #AWP14, the Conference. This year it will take place in Seattle starting Feb. 26, 2014. Here is a listing of our panels, meetings, and receptions.

Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance
2014 AWP Conference Schedule
Seattle, Washington

Visit us at Booth #200 in the Bookfair

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
W103. WITS Membership Meeting
Room 2A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2
Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance invites current and prospective members to attend a general meeting led by Robin Reagler, Executive Director of WITS-Houston.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Being Juvenile is a Good Thing: A Reading of Old Writers Inspired by Young Writers
Room 304, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
Featuring Rebecca Hoogs, Terry Blackhawk, Garth Stein, Nick Flynn, Dorothea Lasky

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
From Page to Stage, Performance Poetry and the WITS Process of Teaching and Learning
Willow Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
Featuring Mary Rechner, Desmond Spann, Aricka Foreman, Monica Prince, Janet Hurley

7 pm to 8:15 pm
Writers in the Schools Reception
Greenwood Room, Sheaton Seattle

Friday, February 28, 2014

9:00 am to 10:15 am
Preparing for Exuberant Life Beyond the MFA
Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Featuring Michele Kotler, Lauren Berry, Peter Hyland, Jason Whitmarsh, Elizabeth Wales

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
F235. Storytelling for a Cause
Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
Featuring Kate Brennan, Karen Lewis, Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Philip Shaw, Robin

Saturday, March 1, 2014

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Creativity and the Future of K-12 Education
Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Starring Jack McBride, Cecily Sailer, Harold Terezón, Tina Cane, Sheila Black

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Rivers and Tides: Balancing Leadership with the Writing Life
Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Jeanine Walker, Jennifer Benka, David Hassler, Stephen Young

For more detailed information about each of these panel discussions, click here.

Get WITS at AWP 2014 in Seattle

AWP WITS Alliance leaders
Bao-Long Chu, Amy Swauger, Terry Blackhawk, Robin Reagler, and Robin Davidson

If you want to learn more about Writers in the Schools (WITS) programs, please join us at the annual AWP Conference. This year it will take place in Seattle starting Feb. 26, 2014. Here is a listing of our panels. A more complete list including meetings and receptions will be posted in December.

Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance
2014 AWP Conference Schedule
Seattle, Washington

Visit us at Booth #200 in the Bookfair

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
W103. WITS Membership Meeting
Room 2A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2
Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance invites current and prospective members to attend a general meeting led by Robin Reagler, Executive Director of WITS-Houston.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
R218B. Being Juvenile is a Good Thing: A Reading of Old Writers Inspired by Young Writers
Room 304, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
(Rebecca Hoogs, Terry Blackhawk, Garth Stein, Nick Flynn, Dorothea Lasky)
In a recent New Yorker profile of James Salter, the writer dismissed his teenage writing as “terrible”—a common refrain for most writers of renown—yet such false modesty does damage to the public perception of what young people can do. This panel will present writers who have worked with Writers in the Schools programs to read their work and the work of the amazing young people who have inspired them. The reading will also feature a special guest appearance by a young writer from Seattle.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
R253. From Page to Stage, Performance Poetry and the WITS Process of Teaching and Learning
Willow Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
(Mary Rechner, Desmond Spann, Aricka Foreman, Monica Prince, Janet Hurley)
Competitive Poetry Slams inspire diverse youth populations to produce dynamic poetry on both the page and the stage. Panelists explore the complexities unique to teaching students to write poetry meant for performance, the socio-political history of the form, the nuts and bolts of organizing youth slams, and the expanding world of opportunities for young performance poets.

7 pm to 8:15 pm
Writers in the Schools Reception
Greenwood Room, Sheaton Seattle

Friday, February 28, 2014

9:00 am to 10:15 am
F114. Preparing for Exuberant Life Beyond the MFA
Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
(Michele Kotler, Lauren Berry, Peter Hyland, Jason Whitmarsh, Elizabeth Wales)
For the writer with a fresh new MFA degree, getting a college teaching job is becoming increasingly more difficult, but there are many other options available. On this panel, five writers will share their career paths to meaningful and satisfying full-time positions in the city of their choosing. The options include working with Writers in the Schools (WITS) programs, becoming a grant writer, teaching in a high school, and becoming a technical writer and a literary agent.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
F235. Storytelling for a Cause
Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
(Kate Brennan, Karen Lewis, Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Philip Shaw, Lisa Howe Verhovek)
Make a difference through the art of storytelling. Led by members of the Writers in the Schools Alliance, this panel discusses how to craft meaningful stories that further the work of a charitable cause. With experts from the nonprofit sector, the philanthropic community, and the marketing industry, hear what makes an effective story and how to best share that story with targeted constituents. This panel will also touch on topics such as cause marketing and guerrilla marketing.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
S182. Creativity and the Future of K-12 Education
Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
(Jack McBride, Cecily Sailer, Harold Terezón, Tina Cane, Sheila Black)
According to creativity advocate Ken Robinson, schools are “killing creativity.” As schools struggle to reinvent themselves and become more relevant, what is the role of the arts in the classroom? How can the teaching artist enhance education in the age of the data-driven? Four Writers in the Schools teaching artists and administrators discuss the precarious position of creative writing and the arts in the K-12 classroom.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
S216. Rivers and Tides: Balancing Leadership with the Writing Life
Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
(Amy Swauger, Jeanine Walker, Jennifer Benka, David Hassler, Stephen Young)
The desire to make a difference in the world does not always coexist peacefully with the desire to write poetry. Many writers struggle with balancing the demands of being literary and being a leader. These panelists hail from five different literary organizations, and they discuss how their careers and their poetry have fed (and sometimes bled into) one another.

Fellowships for Emerging Writers

kw_beachThe deadline to apply for a fellowship to the Key West Literary Seminar is September 30th , 2013. Here is more information from their site:

Presented annually, the Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award, Scotti Merrill Memorial Award, and Marianne Russo Award recognize emerging writers of exceptional merit. Past winners include fiction writers Patricia Engel, Nami Mun, and Kristen-Paige Madonia; and poets George Green and Brynn Saito.

This year’s award winners will receive full tuition to our January seminar and workshop program, round-trip airfare to and from Key West, seven nights’ lodging, financial support for living expenses while in Key West, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar.

The deadline is September 30. Complete details are here.

This year the Key West Literary Seminar will be held January 9th -19th, 2014.

Annual Teaching and Poetry Symposium in August

Casa-De-Maria-14The 2013 CPITS TEACHING AND POETRY SYMPOSIUM will take place at the  Casa de Maria Retreat Center, Santa Barbara, August 23-24-25, 2013. Workshops will be led by award-winning poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar who is the author of A New Hunger (Ausable Press, 2007), Small Gods of Grief (2001), which won the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry, and The Hour Between Dog and Wolf (1997). Her poems have also appeared in Ploughshares, The Washington Post, AGNI, and Harvard Review, as well as in numerous anthologies. Poetry performances will feature Laure-Anne Bosselaar and California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who will also deliver the Keynote Address.  Workshops on poetic craft, teaching strategies, open mic, and more will make this a weekend to remember. To sign up email info@cpits.org or follow CPITS on Facebook to get the latest program details.

 

WritersCorps Announces Winners in Poetry Video Competition

jayraj-highres1On Saturday, April 13, WritersCorps held the third annual Poetry Projection Project, a festival of short films inspired by youth poems, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Poetry Projection Project was emceed by WritersCorps teaching artist, Anhvu Buchanan, or “Mr. B,” as he’s known by his students. The audience enjoyed a reading by four WritersCorps poets– Haley, Nicole, Senobia, and Melissa– followed by a screening of short films.

Special guest juror H.P. Mendoza, an award-winning San Francisco-based filmmaker (”Colma: The Musical,” and “I Am a Ghost”), praised the work of the filmmakers and poets before announcing the winners of the festival:

City Boy” by Jayraj Govender, featuring his own poem.

The Girl with the Birds” by Reel Grrls students, featuring their own poem.

One of the finalists shown at the festival was created by students from WITS Houston in a collaborative project with Aurora Picture Show. You can watch the rest of the selected festival films here and view photos of the event by Cole Anetsberger here

As an organization employing professional writers and teaching creative writing to underserved youth, WritersCorps forges a strong connection to the city’s arts scene.WritersCorps a joint project of the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Arts Commission and has helped nearly 18,000 youth from neighborhoods throughout San Francisco improve their literacy and increase their desire to learn. WritersCorps creates 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, WritersCorps was honored with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House, presented by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Summer Institute for Advanced Teaching Artists

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Save the dates: July 19, 22 + 23, 2013!

Apply by June 5, 2013

Summer Institute is a three-day intensive workshop conducted by Community-Word Project for creative writers, visual artists, musicians, dancers and theater artists with 2+ years teaching artist experience.

Summer Institute’s training curriculum is based on Community-Word Project’s “creative process” exploration methods, teaching practices and arts-in-education philosophy developed over 12 years.

Deepen your teaching practice:

  • Explore creative processes and critical thinking
  • Transform creative processes into effective teaching tools
  • Refresh techniques for project-based arts integration
  • Strengthen classroom management strategies
  • Cultivate environments of social change within classrooms
  • Learn best practices in the teaching artist field

Be a part of the movement!

2013 Application

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