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.

New Book Makes Strong Case for Writers in Schools Programs

9781441111944Forthcoming from Bloomsbury in January 2014, Terry Ann Thaxton’s book Creative Writing in the Community makes a powerful statement in favor of the expansion of Writers-in-Schools programs. Here’s some of the buzz surrounding the new book:

“Terry Ann Thaxton’s thorough and thoughtful guide to community-based creative writing programs mixes inspiring stories with concrete strategies to turn inspiration into action. The voices gathered in Creative Writing in the Community make the strongest possible case for the value of the literary arts and convey the joy of helping students
find their voices as writers, whether those students are seven or seventy years old.” – Amy Swauger, Director, Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Creative Writing in the Community is a unique, comprehensive guidebook – an indispensable, whole-hearted resource both for aspiring writing teachers and practicing writers who, like the author, believe that the union of creative writing and service based learning can build confidence and generate, in learners from all walks of life, a sense of hope, possibility, and purpose.” – Michael Steinberg, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University and co-author (with Robert Root Jr) of Those Who Do, Can; Teachers Writing, Writers Teaching (1996)

From the publisher: Each chapter is packed with easy-to-use resources including: specific lesson plans; case studies of students working with community groups; lists of suitable writing examples; “how to…” sections; examples and theoretical applications of creative writing pedagogy and techniques; reflection questions; writings by workshop participants. Enhanced by contributions from directors, students and teachers at successful public programs, Creative Writing in the Community is more than an essential guide for students on creative writing courses and leaders of community-based learning programs; it is practical demonstration of the value of art in society.

Terry Ann Thaxton is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Central Florida and the founder of Literary Arts Partnerships. Other directors and leaders of WITS Alliance programs who authored chapters are Terry Blackhawk, Allen Gee, David Hassler, and Robin Reagler. To pre-order the book, click here. It will be officially released in January 2014.

US Poet Laureate Visits WITS Program in Detroit


PBS NewHour is doing a series of stories about poetry in America led by the U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway. Correspondent Jeffrey Brown reports on Natasha’s visit to WITS Alliance member program InsideOut in Detroit. Read more about the young poets of Detroit here and here. Or watch the full segment from PBS NewsHour here.

iO's Justin Rogers celebrating his Detroit last night on the PBS NewsHour: "I looked at what my city is now and realized I enjoy what I have here more than what my fantasy city is, and that these negative things, they are there, but there are so many other positive things, that I'm going to enjoy what I have here." Photo by Regina Boone, copyright 2013.
iO’s Justin Rogers celebrating his Detroit last night on the PBS NewsHour: “I looked at what my city is now and realized I enjoy what I have here more than what my fantasy city is, and that these negative things, they are there, but there are so many other positive things, that I’m going to enjoy what I have here.” Photo by Regina Boone, copyright 2013.

 

Poet as Pilgrim in Progress

poetrypilgrimphotofrom p&w
Photo of Crystal Hoffman by Shannon Zahnie, from Poets & Writers Magazine

This month’s issue of Poets & Writers features a story about Crystal Hoffman, a poet/pilgrim who is traversing the US on foot. As she mozies her 3,000 mile journey, she meets many people and listens to their stories. Then she composes poems based loosely on their tales. Her’s is a brave effort to re-mythologize America.  As she has pressed forward, her plans have shifted somewhat. The vintage Olivetti Lettera typewriter was too heavy, and the traditional backpack has been replaced by a rigged-out Runaway stroller. But most people find the poet’s journey uplifting. You can read poetry by Hoffman in the latest issue of PANK Magazine. You can follow her on the great American poetry adventure via her blog, The Poetry Pilgrim Project.

Crystal Hoffman from her blog

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.

 

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

So, You Want to Become a Writer in the Schools?

witsa messenger bagJoin us at the 2013 AWP Conference in Boston, March 6-9. Here is a list of the Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance events this year.

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

All events take place in the Hynes Convention Center unless otherwise noted.
 

WITS Alliance Booth: 210

 

Wednesday, March 6

WITS Day of Service hosted by WriteBoston
12:00 noon -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
Related Panel
Room 102, Plaza Level
10:30-11:45 a.m.

This reading by new, veteran, and former WITS teachers will explore what it really means to be agents of the WITS mission—to engage children in the power of the written word, to nurture imaginations, and to awaken young minds to the adventures of language. Readers will discuss how WITS teaching can sometimes be at least as revolutionary for teachers as for their students, even having potentially life-altering effects on teaching, writing, and overall worldview.

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.

Four poets will share work by young students as well as their own work. They will discuss the ways in which their work with school children has affected their own writing. Two of the poets will have participated in the AWP WITS Day of Service and will tell about that. Students from the Day of Service project will be invited to the event.

 

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

From lyrics on the nesting habits of eagles to odes to the ozone layer, teachers are incorporating creative writing projects in science, math, and social studies curricula. From kindergarten to college, instructors are being asked to merge the disciplines. In this session, panelists will share strategies to engage students in creative writing across the curriculum.

 

WITS Alliance Reception

Room 303
7:00-8:15 p.m.

Friday, March 8

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.

If every organization is the lengthened shadow of one person, and if the MFA is the new MBA, then poets and novelists are already equipped with the imaginative drive and divergent thinking necessary to start and operate a successful nonprofit. This panel of founding directors and arts administrators will provide useful information on how to start a literary non-profit. We will guide participants through the process of incorporating one’s passion into a viable project working for public good.

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.

Non-profits start brainstorm sessions with this phrase: if money were no object. But, money is an object, and not having it is an obstacle. In an economy where revenues and contributions are down, non-profits rely on individual donors. While 70% of all giving comes from individuals, just 5% of donations go to the arts. How do we shape a passion for our work into a message that encourages increased giving? This panel explores ways we craft our stories to win the hearts of individual donors.

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.

Does the endeavor of creative writing intrinsically encourage the subject of social justice and/or nurture the same? Panelists who work with students, elementary through college age, will discuss the art of teaching youth. They will chronicle the ways in which creative writing often triggers or gives space for idealism in students and empowers a sense of agency. What are the teachable moments and what risks are involved?

 
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.

Although people might agree poets make the world a better place, poetry is often marginalized to classrooms. What happens when we move the poet from the ivory tower into the real world? What if a poet-in-residence could work in the hospital, museum, theater, or science lab? This panel explores how individuals and arts organizations can enliven and deepen the teaching of creative writing through unlikely collaborations.