In honor of National Poetry Month Huffington Post recognized 10 amazing Latino performance poetry artists, including WITS writer Zachary Caballero. Check out their videos here!


Monday, 4th #2

photo courtesy of


Fly free.

Flap your wings free.

Be content with your natural beauty.

Remember your place among all living things.

Enjoy the view!

Dance in the breezes

Be colorful.


By Jennifer, 3rd Grade

Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on KPFT 90.1 and KTRU 96.1 by Andrew, a WITS Youth Advisory Council Member. The background music is “Another Day” by Ketsa. Produced by Susan Phillips.


email banner 2016

Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B Tournament of Champions,, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, KPFT 90.1 and KTRU 96.1.

photo courtesy of


Be on the lookout

Poets are everywhere

The red bird chirping on the wire

The pit bull barking at a friend

The trees whispering in the breeze

Boots scraping on the sidewalk

Me, singing in the shower

By Dashiel, 5th grade

Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on KPFT 90.1 and KTRU 96.1 by Mackenzie, a WITS Youth Advisory Council Member. The background music is “The Jazz Piano” by Bensound from Produced by Susan Phillips.

email banner 2016

Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B Tournament of Champions,, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, KPFT 90.1 and KTRU 96.1.

Original post: September 22, 2015

Robin at AWP

Writers in the Schools (WITS) Houston and our awesome sister programs from across the nation will be attending #AWP16 the AWP Conference in Los Angeles later this week. If you have ever thought that your city, town, or community could use a program like WITS, we hope you will join us in LA for some great conversations.

In the Bookfair, you can find us in Booth #1001. We will have some cool writer stuff to give away! Our membership meeting — which is open to newcomers as well, will be on Friday, April 1st:

10:30 am to 11:45 am @ Room 506, LA Convention Center

And WITS will host six different panels, which are listed on the WITS Alliance website. Panelists will include Jen Benka, Lacy Johnson, Janine Joseph, James Kass, and Renee Watson.  Please join us in LA!






Three former WITS Writers – Tiphanie Yanique, Kimberly Meyer, and Lauren Berry — will be the featured writers at the Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers in May 2016. Here’s more information from the conference website:





Glass Mountain Magazine and the University of Houston

Are Pleased to Announce


The 2016 Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers


Houston, TX, February 8, 2016


Accepting applications now for early-bird pricing on registration, the eighth annual Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers will take place at the University of Houston, Houston, TX, May 23-27, 2016.


During May 23-27, undergraduate and emerging writers both locally and nationwide will attend a week-long conference at the M.D. Andersen Library at University of Houston. The week will be filled with writing workshops, craft talks, professional panels, readings, evening events around the city, and private consultations with the 2016 Visiting Writers:


Tiphanie Yanique (fiction), Land of Love and Drowning (Penguin) and How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf)

Kimberly Meyer (nonfiction), The Book of Wanderings (Little, Brown)

Lauren Berry (poetry), The Lifting Dress (National Poetry Series, Penguin)


The Boldface Conference is open to any writer who has not yet published a book or enrolled in an MFA or PhD program in Creative Writing. Early-bird pricing is available on conference registration at the low cost of $195. Regular registration pricing will begin on March 21st.


The conference is largely funded via Glass Mountain Magazine’s annual Write-a-Thon and through support from the Oppenheim Foundation and the University of Houston English Department. Additional support is welcome:


More about Boldface: Boldface registration includes daily group workshops and master classes with Boldface faculty from the top-ranked University of Houston Graduate Creative Writing Program, craft talks and readings by the award-winning Visiting Writers, optional field trips, and daily breakfast and lunch. Transportation to events is provided by volunteers. For traveling writers, housing is available at the university at a low cost. Manuscript consultations with the Visiting Writers is an additional option.


For questions, interviews, donations, or additional information, please contact Matthew Salesses at boldfaceconference@gmailcom.


Well, I’ve had a rotten day,

but let’s look on the bright side.

I can still chew gum and

look cool on my skateboard

and pet my dogs.

By Jeremy, 4th Grade

leaf-65835_1280If I could write a poem anywhere it would be on my tongue

so the words were always moving in my mouth

If I could write a poem anywhere it would be on the clouds

so that people would look up into the sky more

If I could write a poem anywhere it would be on a leaf

so my words would float off into the wind

By Crissy, 4th Grade

Writers in the Schools is offering…

WITS Digital Summer Camp @ Briarmeadow Charter School


image_witsdigitalGame Camp (Grades 3-6) combines creative writing with game-based technologies, bridging the writing process with that of game design. Students will become creators versus consumers of media as they use their poems and stories as the foundation for designing original games via platforms including Gamestar Mechanic. Game Camp offers an exciting STEM and IB-aligned game-based writing experience, providing participants with an interactive learning adventure. In addition to improving their writing skills, students will practice creative problem solving, collaboration, systems thinking, and 21st century skills in a fun and engaging environment.
Wired Words  (Grades 6-8) In this hands-on multimedia camp, students will work with a professional writer to create digital writing projects drawn from and inspired by their own worlds. Through individual and collaborative writing exercises, students will learn the importance of writing for an audience and discover innovative ways to utilize online web platforms to share their writing with others. Participants will explore creative writing genres in online and multimedia formats, translating their stories, essays, scripts, and poetry into digital forms including blogs and tumblrs. No prior experience with technology is necessary.

$360 per student (2-week sessions).

Registration Now Open »


10. Kianna VallardeSister Cities International is hosting its annual Young Artists and Authors Showcase! Writers ages 13-18 (as of May 1, 2016) may submit prose work (not to exceed 500 words) and poems (not to exceed 200 words) by March 31. Houston winners will be submitted for national consideration in May!

For more information and entry rules please visit their website:

Date: March 11, 2016
Time: 6:30-8pm
Location: 1500 McKinney St.

Join us Friday, March 11th, 6pm for a special Orbit Slam event at the Los Trompos installation at Discovery Green. There will be a DJ, performances by Meta-Four Houston and special guest Desiree Dallagiacomo taking place inside Los Trompos (spinning tops), a beautiful, colorful interactive installation.

This event is FREE and open to the public. No registration required.


Writers in the Schools is looking for enthusiastic college students to join our team of interns this summer. These exciting and rewarding positions will work alongside writers and teachers to get youth excited about writing.

Internships begin June 1st, 2016. Both full-time and part-time positions are available. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university and be 18 years of age or older.

Please visit our Work for WITS page for more info and to apply >>





origami-565954_1920Young writers can enter the Kelly Peace Poetry Contest with no fee. The deadline for entering is April 30, 2016. Here’s some basic information about the 2016 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards. Find out more on their website.


The Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards is an annual series of awards to encourage poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit. The Poetry Awards include three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 & Under. The deadline for entries is April 30, 2016.

The contest is open to people worldwide. Poems must be original, unpublished, and in English.


All entries must be postmarked by April 30, 2016.


Adult Winner – $1,000
Youth (13 to 18) Winner – $200
Youth (12 and under) Winner – $200
We may award Honorable Mentions in each category.

photo (1)










Love Poem for a Tree

(Inspired by Pablo Neruda)

By Ms. Siegel’s Class

In the morning your branches wave in the wind.

My eyes hunt for your beauty–you’re something no one has ever noticed.

I cherish your gorgeous trunk that reaches to the clouds.

I adore your green leaves that sway in the sky.

Nothing will separate us, not a wall of stone or a strong hurricane.

Our love is fiercer than an army at war.

I will never leave behind your rough bark.

I will treasure you more than gold and emeralds and iPads.

In the evening when I walk by, you will smile at me, and I will hug you.

sisters-781098_1920A memory is something that is precious as gold.

It looks fuzzy as a dog. When I look at it now,

it reminds me of when me and my sister slept

together under the blanket. When I see it, I feel

like I fall asleep really quickly. It reminds me of

the first time I held my sister. A memory is

something that is precious as gold.

By Isabel, 2nd Grade

imgresCongrats to WITS writer Jasminne Mendez for the publication of her new poem “Frijochuelas” in La Galeria Magazine. You can read it HERE.

Jasminne also has a creative non-fiction piece, “El Corte,” that was selected as honorable mention for the Barry Lopez Non Fiction Award through Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. It will be published in their upcoming The Best of Cutthroat issue. Look for it at AWP!

Last but not least, Jasminne will be one of the featured performers/readers at Brazos Bookstore on March 5th at 2pm for an event called Speak!Poet. Come out and support poetry in the community!

boy-447706_1280When I wake up in a mood, not feeling the love,

then I got to bring it from within, like a famous

basketball player.

I put on blinders to all the negativity and just

smile at the world. Then I do my thing.


By Jermaine, 6th Grade

IMG_7808Here are two writing contests for young people with spring deadlines:


Ayn Rand Institute Anthem Essay Contest: Open to 8th, 9th and 10th grade students worlwide.  Submit an essay between 600-1200 words around the suggested topics listed on the website.  (1) First prize: $2,000; (5) second prizes: $500, (10) Third Prizes: $200, (45) Finalist prizes: $50, and (175) Semi-finalist prizes: $30.  Be sure to check out the ARI website for specific submission requirements.  Deadline for submissions is March 25, 2016.

Ayn Rand Institute Fountainhead Essay Contest: Open to 11th and 12th grade students worldwide.  Submit an essay between 800-1600 words around the suggested topics listed on the website.  (1) First prize: $10,000; (5) second prizes: $2,000, (10) Third Prizes: $1,000, (45) Finalist prizes: $1,000, and (175) Semi-finalist prizes: $50.  Be sure to check out the ARI website for specific submission requirements.  Deadline for submissions is April 29, 2016.

This information comes from Writing Contests for Teens, where you can learn about other opportunities.



Can you believe we are more than halfway through the 2015-2016 school year? It’s been a great year filled with many new developments for our programs, including an exciting WITS Performance project with one of our favorite school partners.

On January 26th, we were thrilled to celebrate Ms. Blackmon’s 6th grade students at T.H. Rogers’ Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD). With the support of an interpreter and their WITS writer, Sharon Ferranti, the students signed original stories and poems in front of a rapt audience of peers, parents, and teachers. We are grateful to T.H. Rogers for opening the door for WITS Performance to serve more deaf and hard of hearing students in the years to come!


1“Nizhuria’s Song” by Nizhuria
I’m thankful for stars, so bright.
I’m thankful for rainbows, so colorful.
I’m thankful for flowers that smell so good.
I’m thankful for the galaxy, so huge!

I don’t like swimming, so dangerous.
I don’t like lunch detention, so boring!
I don’t like floods, so bad.
I don’t like people in front of my face when they speak, it embarrasses me.

2“Friends” by Victor
Someone to eat delicious tacos with
Someone to talk with about Christmas
Someone to go trick or treating with on Halloween
Someone to play outside with me
Someone to watch movies with me and my dad


Attention parents! Creative Writing Camp registration is now open – and classes fill up fast! This year we have expanded the locations and dates for our fun, educational summer programs. Classes are taught by professional writers, providing personal encouragement to students as they explore creative writing and storytelling. Visit our Camp Page for more details or view our brochure.