Job Opening with WITS in Portland, Oregon


The WITS Program in Portland, Oregon, is hiring a new Director of Youth Programs. It’s a full-time position, and you can click here to learn more about it.  Here is the official job description.

Director of Youth Programs: Literary Arts seeks a creative and experienced individual with a strong background in education and the literary arts to lead our county-wide Youth Programs. The Director supervises all program components, both on and off campuses. The Director is also responsible for supervising administrative staff and interns, hiring a diverse roster of teaching artists, staffing the Youth Programs Advisory Council, strategic planning, budgeting, supporting grant writing, program evaluation, and the continued development of the WITS Apprentice program for writers of color. Click here for more information about this position and how to apply. An initial review of applications will begin on March 31, 2017. Applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis.


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 Portland Expands to Underserved Schools


WITS Alliance member, Literary Arts, in Portland, Oregon, has expanded residencies to the schools in East County, serving students who have historically been underserved.

Gresham High School participated with a full slate of WITS youth programming during the 15-16 school year, including slams, author visits, creative writing residencies, and lectures. Read more about this incredible project >>

WITS Alliance Events at #AWP17 in DC


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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

Let Your Voice Be Heard


The Young Writers Project in Vermont publishes The Voice for young writers, photographers, and visual artists in middle and high school. For students to get involved, first open an account on Join the community, receive feedback, in order to be considered for publication in The Voice. The editors offer writing challenges to help get students started — or students can write about anything under the “general” tag. Students from WITS programs across the nation are welcome to join.

Free Resources for Writing Teachers

Imagine 2 of 3.jpg

The web makes searching for teaching ideas easy, but there’s SO MUCH out there. If you’re keen on teaching the WITS way, check out the Digital Resource Center. It was created by Teachers and Writers Collaborative and contains tried and true lesson plans, as well as archives from their magazine, and excerpts from the books they publish. This site contains great, free resources for writers who teach and teachers who write.


Artists Make Awesome Teachers

WITS Alliance Member Organization
Community Word Project 

The Business of Teaching Artistry:
A Panel on Professionalism

hosted by Community-Word Project’s
Teaching Artist Training & Internship Program (TATIP)

April 11th
5:30-8:30 pm

Roy Arias Studios & Theaters
777 8th Avenue (between 47th and 48th) Second Floor
New York, NY 10036
Register Now
What does professionalism look like in the Teaching Artist field? How are the expectations of artists and arts-in-education organizations changing?
Where do we see these changes and expectations heading?

Join us for a conversation between arts-in-education Administrators and Teaching Artists as we discuss the following:

  • Tips for interviewing and building your Teaching Artist portfolio
  • Ways to establish long-term working relationships with organizations
  • Strategies for having difficult conversations
  • How to balance your artistry-teaching life & prevent burn-out
  • & much more!

Panel to include representatives from Community-Word Project, Brooklyn Arts Council, FreeArts NYC, Wingspan Arts, Dreamyard Project, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Marquis Studios, Victoria Sammartino, founder of Voices Unbroken and more!

You must register to attend. Make your reservation today and we’ll see you on April 11th!

Summer Workshop for Advanced Teaching Artists in NYC

Summer Institute 5.0

For Advanced Teaching Artists

Teaching Social Justice:

 Current Events through Art, Inquiry and Reflection

July 23-25, 2015 in New York City


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. It is sponsored by the Community Word Project.


  • 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


Application Guidelines

Application Deadline EXTENDED: June 10th, 2015

Tuition: $350

Scholarship Assistance Available

“With events in Ferguson and the Eric Garner decision, we can give ourselves permission to be honest with our students. It also provides an opportunity for an honest conversation about how long change takes. In the end, besides bringing ourselves as artists, we’re bringing ourselves as human beings.”

-Stephanie Jones, Summer Institute 2014

For more information go to

InsideOut Literary Arts Seeks New Detroit Leader

047-1InsideOut Literary Arts, the WITS Alliance organization in Detroit, is seeking a new Executive Director. Their founder, Terry Blackhawk, is retiring after and illustrious 20 year run. Check out the press release (below) or their website for more information.

Founder Terry Blackhawk Retiring in June

(DETROIT, MI) InsideOut Literary Arts Project ( iO) is pleased to announce a national search for its next Executive Director, as founding director Dr. Terry Blackhawk prepares to retire June 30th after 20 years.

“I am excited about entering a new phase with iO and thrilled to see the organization flourishing as we launch our 20th anniversary year,’’ says Blackhawk, an award-winning poet and educator. “The work has grown beyond my wildest imaginings.’’

iO was founded in 1995 in just five Detroit high schools, with weekly classroom visits by a writer-in-residence, the publication of a literary journal for each school, and a vision of sharing the power of poetry with youth. Twenty years later, iO has taught more than 50,000 K–12 students how to “think broadly and create bravely.’’ iO’s work has earned national exposure(including invitations to the White House) and a feature presentation on PBS NewsHour.

Blackhawk’s retirement will coincide with a series of public arts celebrations honoring her work and iO’s longevity. The anniversary year will be anchored by the publication of “To Light A Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project,’’ an essay compilation published by Wayne State University Press and edited by Blackhawk and iO’s Senior Writer, Peter Markus. With essays by 23 iO writers, the book shines a light on the triumphs and challenge of using poetry as a bridge of understanding between a city and its children. “When I founded InsideOut in the mid 1990s, the burgeoning creative writing movement, industry, community — call it what you will —was beginning to take off but I could not have imagined the reach that it has today.’’

The search for Blackhawk’s successor, who is expected to be named in September, is being led by the Non-profit Personnel Network. Long-time iO Associate Director Alise Alousi will manage day-to-day operations starting July 1st.

CONTACT: Nichole Christian, director of communications, or 313.577-4601

ABOUT iO: InsideOut Literary Arts Project is a nationally recognized 501c3 nonprofit, celebrated as a hub of creativity for Detroit K-12 students who are curious about exploring their worlds through poetry and self-expression. Major funders include Detroit Public Schools, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Skillman Foundation and the United Way of Southeastern Michigan.

WITS Alliance Schedule at #AWP15 in Minneapolis


WITS Alliance at AWP 2015

Booth: #1301

Hashtag: #WITSAlliance #AWP15

Thursday, April 9

Life After the MFA: Extra/ordinary Career Paths for Writers
1:30-2:45 p.m.
Room 101 B&C, Level 1

Panelists: Erin Kottke, Charlie Scott, Giuseppe Taurino, and Zayne Turner

Genre 2.0: Game-Based Learning and Creative Writing
4:30-5:45 p.m.

Room 205 A&B, Level 2

Panelists: Michael Angst, Rick Brennan, and Long Chu

WITS Alliance Reception

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Location: Room 203B, Level 2

Friday, April 10

WITS Alliance Membership Meeting

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Room 208 C&D, Level 2

Host: Robin Reagler

The Creative Writer as an Agent of Change

1:30-2:45 p.m.

Room 208 A&B, Level 2

Panelists: Tina Cane, Laura Moulton, Monica Prince, Mary Rechner, and Renée Watson

The Writing on the Wall: Poetry for Public Places

3:00-4:15 p.m.

Room 205 A&B, Level 2

Panelists: Kate Brennan, David Hassler, Michele Kotler, Christine Podas-Larson, and Alice Quinn

Saturday, April 11

Start a WITS Program at Your University
12:00-1:15 p.m.
Room 211 A&B, Level 2

Panelists: Terry Blackhawk, Julia Kasdorf, Frances Payne Adler, Amy Swauger, and Terry Thaxton

The Resuscitation of Childhood: A WITS Reading

1:30-2:45 p.m.

Room 101 D&E, Level 1

Panelists: Matthew Burgess, Jason Koo, Erin Malone, Emily Perez, and Tiphanie Yanique

Download Schedule »