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.

 

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Poets Act as Guides to Art in Detroit

The WITS Alliance member in Detroit, Inside Out, enjoys a multi-layered collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA). Here is a post from the Knight Arts blog about a Bike Tour in which performance poets from InsideOut Literary Arts Project brought art to life along a 13-mile route.Image

Here is a description of one stop in the article by Larisa Zade:

In front of the reproduction of Benny Andrews’ Portrait of a Collagist at the Dell Pryor Gallery in Midtown Detroit, the Spitfires, an after-school poetry performance troupe organized through InsideOut Literary Arts Project’s Voices program at Detroit International Academy for Young Women, presented an original poem. Inspired by the Andrews self-portrait, Aryn Smith, Khadijah Shabazz, Sakila Islam, and Queantae Smith wrote the poem they then performed as a group. The Spitfires offered two performances for the riders, who were joined by people walking to local shops and restaurants interested in both the painting and the poetry. Each performance was met with an enthusiastic round of photos and applause for the young and talented poets. Many riders agreed it was the most moving stop along the tour.

To see Zade’s complete article, click here.

WITS Alliance Folks in the News

Art by Carmelo Arden Quin

There’s plenty of good Writers in the Schools (WITS) news around the world. Here are a few articles about WITS Alliance members and the work they’re doing.

  • Terry Blackhawk, founding director of InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit has been a featured blogger this month on the Huffington Post. Check out her column here.
  • Cecily Sailor, Education Programs Manager for Badgerdog Literary Publishing in Austin, TX, was interviewed by Write by Night magazine.
  • Seattle WITS has the highest level of service in its 16-year program: 26 elementary, middle, and high schools and one hospital.
  • In the fall of 2010 the Missoula Writing Collaborative received new funding from the Heineman Foundation ($30,000) to
    support their work teaching kids to love to write, and this funding was renewed in November 2011 at the same level.
  • WITS Houston’s Executive Director Robin Reagler was elected to the AWP Board of Directors. Her first term will begin in February 2012.

Share your literary education news with us, please.

Detroit Poets from InsideOut Find Brave New Voices

InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit has a lot to be proud of. This week they welcome back from San Francisco six student poets, where their team placed fourth at Brave New Voices, the national youth slam competition.

“This is not just a slam. These are words for a better tomorrow,” slam team member Justin Rogers proclaimed.   The WITS Alliance congratulates Justin Rogers, Devin Magee, Joseph Verge, Ariana Washington, Breeana Blackmon and Andrew Barnhill. You guys give us hope!