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.

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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

WritersCorps Rocks Litquake

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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.

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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