by WITS Intern, Danielle Resh

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“What are you doing?” I ask a fourth grade student splayed across the floor, eyebrows furrowed in concentration as she studies her paper. The classroom hums with the sound of scratching pencils. Children buzz around writing stations, focused on their work.

“These are haiku blocks,” she says, opening her hand to reveal a collection of cubes. “Each side has a different word. You roll them and make a haiku out of the words they land on. Can you help me find ‘is’?”

As I bend down to search through the cubes, I sneak a peek at the first line that she has already placed down in front of her: Storm blows through the house.

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Toss glitter in the sea.

Get a mermaid tail of any color.

Loosen your hair

so it can get curly.

Stir pink on your dress.

Gather pink and white pearls

to make a mermaid city.

Use seashells for some pets.

Get some rocks for a house.

If I were a mermaid, I would be happy!

Minha, Patterson Elementary

by WITS Intern, Danielle Resh
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Two second graders bounce their handmade puppets around, transforming the slick hall of the cafeteria where students gather for pickup into their own little stage. To my left, a girl bends over her journal, furiously scribbling as she is called to head home. In front of me, a camper gestures animatedly to his camp intern, explaining the story he just wrote.

Carpool at Creative Writing Camp is unexpected yet wonderful proof of the magic of camp. It is a bustling time when all of the ideas that have been cooking in campers’ heads throughout the day bubble over in a kettle of chatter and excitement— so much excitement that campers barely hear their names being called when their parents arrive.

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sunflower-1495136_640Yellow looks like the sun shining in the sky.

Yellow sounds like a yellow bird cheeping.

I can smell yellow dandelions when they have their petals.

I can touch yellow banana peels.

I taste a yellow icing cupcake.

If yellow were a person, he would lie under the sun.

By Drake, Memorial Drive Elementary

winter-260838_640The tree is blowing its hair in the air

It has more than one arm, it has legs and hair

It doesn’t like to be cut down

The tree likes animals to hibernate inside it

The tree doesn’t like to be alone

He loves the animals

The tree is warm in the sun

By Addison, Lyons Elementary

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Join WITS on Saturday, July 9th, 2 pm as the Meta-Four Houston team gives their FREE farewell performance at the Live Oaks Meeting House on 26th Street in the Heights before jetting off to Washington, D.C. to perform at the Brave New Voices International Festival. Meta-Four Houston recently won first place in the state of Texas. Come check out these talented poets!

Date: July 9, 2016
Time: 2pm
Location: 1318 W 26th St Houston, TX 77008

 

 

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The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) Graphic Design Research Initiative (GDRI) and Writers in the Schools (WITS) recently collaborated on a special project that featured WITS students and University of Houston graphic design students.  The GDRI students turned the children’s poems into graphic designs, using inspiration from various fields, including concrete poetry, expressive typography, and Dadaism. The visual poetry exhibition is currently on display in Houston’s City Hall Annex. Click here to read about this innovative project.

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The mast shakes.

The sail is taut and motionless.

As the wind howls, people yell.

I’m hit in the face with icy sea water. People go down and get back up.

I look over the edge of the ship and see something tap.

I look up and hope to god I’m not the only one that sees it:

a giant blue eye looking down in wonder.

By Max, 8th Grade

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The Houston Public Library is hosting its 1st Teen Writing Contest! Here’s how it’s described on their site:

Channel your imagination into an original short story or poem for a chance to win some amazing prizes.

Subjects for your short story or poem are limited only by your imagination. Entries will be judged on originality, use of language and technical skill. You can submit to both categories – short story and poetry.

Click here for more information.

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Captain, take me on a ride

to a place so wonderful as I hear the

horn honk hard.

It feels like a day when you’re eating your

favorite dish for dinner.

The water vibrating through the boat

as we drive through the Seven Seas.

No matter how long it takes, I want

to go to the boat. I’ll go

No matter what.

Captain, go faster,

I want to feel the breeze.

 

by Kevin, 3rd grade

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Join us on Thursday, July 7th at Brazos Bookstore from 6-8pm for the Soapbox Non-Fiction slam hosted by the WITS Youth Advisory Council. Students ages 13-19 are invited to bring their best non-fiction story (under 5 minutes) on the theme of growing up. There are a total of 15 spots available on a first come first served basis. Special guest Robin Davidson, Houston Poet Laureate, will be one of the judges!

Entry is free!

 

RSVP/ Questions: soapboxstories@gmail.com

Give hope

Bring a book
Write a story
Live a life
Travel around the world
Explore the forests
Swim the seas
Fly the skies
Try new things
Collect rare treasures
Create new things
Sketch a new world
Ride a dragon
Climb a mountain
Walk on a cloud
Swing through treetops
Help your family
Comfort your friends
Be a kind person
Hold life in your hands
Give hope
Show hope
Live in hope
Do all this
Just in case

by Virginia, 5th grade

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This Saturday, June 18th, the Meta-Four Houston students will have the honor of recording their poetry at the world famous SugarHill Studios in Houston, Texas. SugarHill has generously donated their time and expertise to give our students the experience of a lifetime!

Some other famous names that have have recorded at SugarHill (maybe you’ve heard of them?) The Rolling Stones, Freddy Fender, The Big Bopper, George Jones, Smash Mouth, Destiny’s Child, Archie Bell and The Drells… the list goes on!

We are so grateful to share these opportunities with our students. Stay tuned for pictures from the upcoming session!

B-Fest_icon_largeJoin us Friday, June 10th at 6:30pm for a special performance by WITS’ Meta-Four Houston team at Barnes & Noble First Colony’s B-Fest Teen Book Festival. This special performance will be followed by Trivia Blast at 7pm, created by Penguin Teen and Random House’s First In Line, who will send one winner in every store advance reader’s copies* of the most anticipated new teen books. *Advance reader’s copies will be preselected by the publisher. Join us for this evening of fun and check out Barnes & Noble’s page for more teen events that weekend.

gdri2WITS has partnered with the University of Houston-Downtown’s GDRI (Graphic Design Research Initiative) program to turn WITS students’ poetry into visual works of art! These works are on display now in the tunnel below Houston’s Downtown City Hall.

This traveling visual poetry exhibition uses techniques from fields that include concrete poetry, expressive typography, and visual literature, getting inspiration from dada-ism and futurism.

Painters use strokes and color schemes to express emotions on the canvas. Writers use words and stories to communicate emotion on the page. This exhibition celebrates the intersection of both worlds.

 

This partnership was made possible through the City of Houston and the Houston Arts Alliance. Printing support generously provided by Seebridge Media

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Someone brought me a branch

Little tiny bugs work inside like ants
I felt happy when I got it
So many ideas of what to build

Someone brought me a branch

by Sa’nia, 1st grade

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My story is in my hands.
My hands help me taste good food and feel soft blankets.
My hands help me hear the piano and smell flowers.
My hands help me see a book.
My story is in my hands.

by Frida, 1st grade

 

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Spend an evening with WITS on Thursday, June 2nd, 6-10pm for Mid Main’s First Thursday event. There will be live music, performances, art shows, tasty drinks and appetizer specials. A $5 donation will give guests access to the Art Garden and drinks from Topo Chico, St. Arnold, and Deep Eddy. Proceeds will benefit WITS and help us bring the WITS creative writing program to more Houston children!

Location: 3700 Main Street 77002

Cost: FREE

 

In the morning when the sun rises I imagine you

as someone I love who has passed away.

My eyes hunt for you when I am sad or mad.

I cherish your lovely whiteness.

You make my eyes water with happiness.

I adore your fluffiness that is softer than a dog.

Nothing will separate us, not even the wind that howls.

Our love is stronger than a lollipop.

I cherish you like a dog who cuddles with me.

In the evening I look up into the dark sky to find you.

I wait to read you a book.

By Kennedy, 2nd Grade