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Here I love you
in the place I am staying

Here I love you
with my heart burning like a volcano

Ice freezy oceans,
and joy wandering
while I stay in front of this breezy
place, far away from you,
and the dragon in my heart rises

Your “yes” saying could save me

It could banish the dragon
deep in me
when you want to marry me and
(I hope you do!)
It is the only way to conquer me.
Your touch, your kiss
could destroy the wind away
But right now
I’m just out in this breezy
Playground, alone.

by Ismail, 4th grade

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It’s that time of year again! Get out your pencils and fire up the imagination.

The Houston Public Media PBS KIDS Writers Contest is accepting original entries

from children in grades K-3 until March 22, 2016. Please visit the website for

eligibility rules and additional information. Last year’s winning stories are

posted for inspiration on the Houston Public Media website.

enormoussmallness20Congratulations to poet Matthew Burgess, who read on our WITS panel at AWP in Minneapolis. His delightful children’s book Enormous Smallness chronicles the life of poet, painter, and playwright  E.E. Cummings.

Brain Pickings named Burgess’s book, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, as one of the 15 best children’s books of 2015. Very exciting!

Check out all the wonderful choices  at Brain Pickings and order your copy today.

shadow-1009997_1280Be brave.

You will find your way using long strides.

You will fill your cracks with gold.

Swallow darkness like lemonade

and savor its twisted flavor.

Scramble into the unknown.

You can’t help but smile.

Your heart will beat

its fractured tune and one

speck of dust will fall from

your tattered suitcase of regrets.

You are broken like the old

clock in the corner of the

home you used to love.

But that’s okay.

You will cartwheel down the sidewalk

leading away from the city.

And you will smile.

By Pearl, 6th Grade

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Winter break is a great time to revise and edit your creative work. If you want a wider audience, you might consider submitting your best work for publication. New Pages has a resource guide for young authors that include journals that publish youth and contests also. Check it out!

 

 

florek__untameable_city_at_sunsetMutablis Press is celebrating a new anthology of poems about the nature of Houston. The book, edited by Sandi Stromberg, is called Untameable City. Current WITS writers Maryann Gremillion and Sara Cooper are published in it, as well as former WITSers Sarah Cortez, Robin Davidson, Dede Fox, Angélique Jamail, Rebecca Spears, and Randall Watson.

The book launch is Friday, December 11th from 6-9 p.m. at the Jung Center. Reading begins at 6:30.

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Five artists have donated their artwork to WITS, and it’s up for bid on ebay for one more week. Consider a bid that will provide WITS for young students in the Houston area. Every child deserves the opportunity to become an avid reader and a powerful writer.

Join us at Nicola Parente’s artist reception this Friday! We are so excited that Nicola, a longtime WITS supporter and collaborator, will be showing his spectacular paintings in a one-man show.  Gremillion & Co. Fine Art, Houston, TX  is hosting an opening for WITS Artist Nicola Parente on Friday, December 4th at 6 pm. This solo show, No Color Without Light, will be on display at The Annex through January 30th.
nicola show text nicola invite

 

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This week in Edutopia, Owen Griffith explains how writing about gratitude can produce a host of different positive outcomes. Griffith recommends the regular practice of listing what we’re thankful for. He says, “Gratitude seems to work like a muscle, and the physical action of writing a gratitude list helps develop ‘gratitude muscles.'”

The benefits from this kind of writing are impressive. Griffith suggests that they include:

Keeping a gratitude journal on a daily basis helps students achieve the following:

  • Higher grades
  • Higher goals
  • More satisfaction with relationships, life, and school
  • Less materialism
  • More willingness to give back.

For adults, keeping a gratitude journal enables people to:

  • Be more optimistic
  • Experience more social satisfaction
  • Exercise more often
  • Have less envy and depression
  • Have fewer physical complaints
  • Sleep better.

Perhaps this could become a Thanksgiving family activity? If you give it a try, let us know how it goes.

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deepWe are excited to announce that WITS Teacher and Special Programs Manager, Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton, will perform at the We Are Girls Conference, produced by The Girls Empowerment Network.

This event is a  multi-city extravaganza designed especially for girls in grades 3-8. This year’s theme is “Tell Your Story,” which fits right into the WITS mission.

We know that Deborah will serve as a powerful role model to these girls who are exploring creative self-expression and empowerment. Go, Deborah!

metafour-413Free writing and performance workshops take place every second Friday of the month at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St.) from 6:30-8pm.
Students ages 13-19 are welcome. No registration is required! No experience is necessary! Join us this Friday, the 13th for a fun and inspirational evening.
Date: November 13, 2015
Time: 6:30-8pm
Location: 1500 McKinney St.

 

 

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Join WITS this Friday for the ORBIT Slam.

FREE poetry workshop followed by poetry slam.

No registration required.

Open to ages 13-19.

6:30 – 8 pm at MECA in the 6th Ward,

Address: 1900 Kane Street, Houston, TX 77007.

Hosted by D.E.E.P.

See you Friday night!

 

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Meta-Four Houston will perform at this inspirational event hosted by The Houston Public Library on Friday! This is the write-up from HPL:

The Houston Public Library presents:

The Three Doctors

Hosted by Melanie Lawson with KTRK Channel 13

The Houston Public Library is pleased to present The Three Doctors to over 2,000 youth of the City of Houston.

This is an awesome opportunity for our youth to hear a compelling story about three young boys – much like themselves – who survived the tough inner city streets of Newark, New Jersey and became successful men. It is a story that will inspire and encourage our youth to win at life – no matter the odds.

We would be honored if you would support this important event through the gift of your time by attending The Three Doctors’ Presentation.

Who are The Three Doctors?

 

Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. Rameck Hunt, and Dr. George Jenkins, fondly known as The Three Doctors, are extraordinary role models. These three doctors began with a childhood promise to persevere and become successful, prominent men, despite facing barriers growing up in the tough inner-city of Newark, New Jersey. They used positive peer pressure to overcome the many challenges they faced, thus allowing them the opportunity to realize their dream of each becoming a successful physician. Today, The Three Doctors give their time and resources through their Foundation, which stands on the premise that “Our Children Can Not Aspire to Be What They Can Not See.” They passionately share their remarkable story of perseverance to inspire and motivate young people to achieve education and career success through the formation of positive peer and mentor relationships.

 

american-teen-948079_1920Open those big black eyes

and plop those feet on the floor

I know it’s dark outside

I know you’re tired

But it’s Monday and

here you are again

So wake up and live

like there won’t be a Tuesday.

Today is the big day.

By Salome, 6th Grade

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Are you a Meta-Four Houston – Youth Speaks – Brave New Voices alum looking to grow professionally and artistically? We have an exciting opportunity just for you! Apply today for a #FutureCorps Fellowship. Fellows will serve as full time salaried staff supporting their host organization in advancing its mission and capacity to create safe spaces for writings and performance opportunities that elevate youth voices. Additionally, fellows will receive training and mentor ship in leadership, marketing and communications, programming, fundraising and finance and operations. All applications are due November 1st, 2015.

Learn more & apply today at www.youthspeaks.org/bravenewvoices/future-corps

logoDo your kids love to write? Do they like to make big goals and get lots of support meeting them? Then, sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

Here is a message from NaNoWriMo about what to expect. Go to their National Novel Writing Month website to sign up and find out more! Writing begins November 1st.

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.

In 2014, over 300,000 adults participated through our main site, and nearly 90,000 young writers and educators participated through the YWP.

Go to YaNoWriMo website to ask questions and sign up today!