April is National Poetry Month, and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will make a special Houston visit on Wednesday, April 19th. Herrera is the son of migrant farmers. He has published 30 books in his illustrious career, and he was named the first Mexican-American U.S. Poet Laureate in 2015. The University of Houston – Downtown will host this performance and discussion in the Robertson Auditorium at 5:30 pm. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.
Date: December 3, 2016
Location: Morris Frank Library | 10103 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77035
Join the WITS Youth Advisory Council on Saturday, December 3rd, at 2pm at the Morris Frank Library for the Soapbox Nonfiction Slam. This event is free and open to youth ages 13-19. Bring your most interesting holiday story to share (5 minutes max) and wear your best holiday sweater. Prizes for the best stories!
#NaNoWriMo sounds like nonsense, right? But it’s a real thing — November is National Novel Writing Month — and there’s a version of the project retooled especially for young writers and their teachers. You can think of NaNoWriMo as a boot camp to help writers at any level produce a first draft of a novel in 30 days. Participation is free and so much fun. Check out the Young Writers Project.
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!
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.
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!
It’s National Poetry Month, and students in grades 5-12 are invited to enter the Dear Poet Competition this April. Students respond in the form to one of a select group of poetry videos, including the one above by Juan Felipe Herrera, the US Poet Laureate.To enter, email your letter to email@example.com by April 30, 2016. Winners will be published on the poets.org website in May.
Middle and high school students from the surrounding Houston area are invited to participate in the 2016 Watershed Awareness Student Contest! The theme is Our Bayous, Our Pollution. Houston- area bayous and waterways lead to Galveston Bay in turn affecting the Gulf of Mexico and its Flower Garden Banks. Help raise awareness about our local watershed and bring attention to the importance of the health of our local waterways, bayous and our bay! We challenge you to research, explore, interpret and say something meaningful about the connections between human activity and the health of our bayous and ocean through art or shape poetry.
What if food could talk? During April WITS showcases food-themed poems written by Houston students, reaching 600,000 customers at four H-E-B markets: Montrose, Buffalo Speedway, Bunker Hill, and San Felipe. So, as customers pick through apples, they read poems about apples. These students words make shopping a unique experience at H-E-B! The grocery poem project is made possible by H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Copy.com, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.
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.
WITS will sponsor two courses being offered at the 2015 Common Ground Teachers institute that will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. June 26 – July 10. For more information about this innovative institute, click here. Teachers who submit a reservation by May 31st (extended to June 10th) will be offered a place in one of this summer’s Common Ground seminars. After June 10th, participants will be added on a first-come, first-served basis until each seminar is filled. Please contact Keri Myrick with any questions.
In this address, Scott Cairns — Guggenheim fellow, Dennis Levertov Award recipient, librettist, anthologist, and multi-award-winning author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction — will read a selection of his work and talk about the writer’s/artist’s vocation.
A personal invitation from Flashbang! Writing Studio, which is seeking poetry by students in grades 7-12 for publication on its website during April, National Poetry Month:
As participants in NaPoWriMo, Flashbang!’s Sarah and Jeff are writing and posting a poem a day for the month of April. But we want more! We want your poems. Send us your love poems, hate poems, pet poems, unicorn poems, football poems, name poems, video poems, macro poems, gif poems, breakfast-lunch-and dinner poems.
Come back to the blog every day in April for a new writing prompt and at least one new poem. Note: The poems you submit do not have to be based on the prompts we publish. If they are, that’s awesome! Let us know! But more important than following our prompts is writing something you love. Send us what you love.
All poems accepted for publication on the blog will also be considered for publication in the inaugural issue of KaPow!, Flashbang!’s creative writing zine, scheduled for May publication. If your poem is published, you’ll receive a free copy of the zine. Additional copies will be available for $5, and all proceeds will benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. (Want to raise more money for GPLC? Learn more about and register for our Poem-A-Thon here: http://www.flashbangwritingstudio.com/poem-a-thon/)
To submit: Send an email with your poem attached as a Word document or just pasted into the body of the email to flashbangwritingATgmailDOTcom. Please include your name, age, and school name in your submission. (School names will not be published unless you explicitly ask us to do so.) Let us know where you heard about us, too. Deadline for consideration for KaPow! and the NaPoWriMo celebrations is 4/25. BUT we will still consider poems on a rolling basis after that deadline for publication on the blog.
Join WITS Executive Director Robin Reagler and WITS Board Member Shannon Buggs at the 2015 Leadership in the Arts Summit! Look below for information about how to register for this informative and inspiring event.
The upcoming Summit focuses on the best practices and ramifications of audience engagement initiatives that move the arts from a transactional exchange to a long-term stewardship model. With the shifts in demographics, technology, funding streams and an increase in “competition,” many organizations nation-wide are attempting a broader array of tools to engage audiences. Efforts range from increased artist engagement, marketing efforts, technology-initiatives, and advisory groups and special event programming. These initiatives call for new competencies, new levels of partnership and working outside of comfort zones.
The day will be moderated by Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez who gave the opening keynote at last year’s summit.
The 2015 Leadership in the Arts Summit is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the UH Arts initiative with support from the UH Center for Public History Lecture Series and the Houston Endowment.
News to celebrate! Chris Cander’s novel Whisper Hollow is released today! It’s a multi-generational story that focuses on the lives of three women living in a coal-mining town in West Virginia.
Kirkus Reviews says, “Cander divinely delves into multiple points of view, crafting a collage of vibrant, layered characters while charting six decades of poignant, precise moments. A distinctive novel that sublimely measures the distressed though determined heartbeat of a small mountain community.”
Order your copy today and check out the touring schedule here. Congrats, Chris!
Writers in the Schools (WITS) is looking for interns for Summer 2015. Interns will work in Houston, Texas, in a variety of areas, gaining experience in creative writing instruction, early childhood education, non-profit administration, marketing, and/or arts education. Internships also serve as networking opportunities to meet colleagues in education, arts education, and creative writing fields. Upon successful completion of the internship, WITS will serve as a reference and will provide letters of recommendation. Please visit our website to read about and apply for one of our three internships: Education Marketing, Meta-Four Assistant Coach, and Teaching Assistant.
WITS Meta-Four students performed civil rights inspired poems at the Wortham Theater on Feb. 8th with Congressman John Lewis. The sold out event celebrated MARCH, the graphic novel based on Congressman Lewis’ memoir chronicling his participation in the civil rights movement. The students received a standing ovation, and at the end of the evening Mayor Annise Parker declared John Lewis Day.This event was sponsored by the Houston Public Library. For more information, click here.
Are you a poet who loves Houston and wants to encourage Houstonians to read and write more poetry? Apply to be the 2nd Houston Poet Laureate!
The Houston Poet Laureate Selection Committee announces the application/nomination process for selection of Houston’s second Poet Laureate. Submissions are welcome from persons nominating a poet for the position of Poet Laureate or from individual poets who are seeking the position. Only emailed applications will be accepted.
For more information, please visit the Houston Public Library website for guidelines, expectations, terms, and more!
Writers in the Schools (WITS) has been awarded a three-year grant from Youth Speaks to help develop and expand Houston performance poetry programming. The grant will help expand access to the Meta-Four Houston slam team that represents Houston both locally and nationally.The grant is part of the Brave New Voices (BNV) Network Initiative which was launched by Youth Speaks of San Francisco after receiving initial funding from two Bay Area supporters, as well as the Ford and Surdna Foundations.
The BNV Network Initiative will build and strengthen capacity of organizations offering youth literacy programs across the nation. Of the 75 organizations in the network, 16 received these grants. According to James Kass, the founder of Youth Speaks and lead designer of the initiative, “This is a critical opportunity for us to work as a field, to develop our shared expertise, to strengthen our base and make visible the voices of 21st Century America. We cannot continue to see arts education as being on the fringe and this will plant us firmly in the center, where young people belong.”
Shannon Buggs, Emanualee Outspoken Bean, and Robin Reagler represented WITS at the kick-off event for the BNV Network in San Francisco earlier this month. According to Executive Director Robin Reagler, “We will use this funding to expand WITS Performance programs, which were launched after we adopted Meta-Four Houston in 2012. Houston youth understand more about our community that we realize, and It is our hope that Meta-Four can be an exciting way for them to make their voices heard.”