Houston has installed poetry banners throughout downtown. Featured poets include our very own Executive Director, Robin Reagler, and Writers in the Schools students! As you walk through the city make sure you look up to catch the words on these beatiful banners and if you have a chance snap a picture and tag @witshouston!
Posts Categorized: Notebook
12 truly inspired and inspiring young poets will WOW Houston this weekend at the Space City Grand Slam.
The Space City Grand Slam is THIS Sunday, April 24th, 3PM at Discovery Green, sponsored by the Travelers Foundation. Join us to hear the words of 12 talented youth poets as they vie for a spot on the Meta-Four Houston team and a chance to travel to Washington D.C. to compete at the Youth Speaks Brave New Voices International Festival. This event will include special guest JJ from KBXX 97.9 The Box, the official media sponsor of the Space City Slam Series, and DJ Roo. This event is FREE and open to the public.
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.
Congratulations to our 21 youth performance poets who will be competing in the Space City Slam Semifinals tomorrow, Saturday, April 9th at 12pm and 3:30pm at Meca Houston (1600 Kane St Houston, TX).
The top 6 poets from each bout will move on to the Grand Slam Finals at Discovery Green on April 24. Competitors, please arrive 45 minutes before your bout to check in. Good luck everyone! See you there!
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!
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
Writers in the Schools is offering…
WITS Digital Summer Camp @ Briarmeadow Charter School
Game 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).
Sister 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: sister-cities.org/YAAS
Young 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.
A 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
Congrats 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!
When I wake up in a mood, not feeling the love,
then I got to bring it from within, like a famous
I put on blinders to all the negativity and just
smile at the world. Then I do my thing.
By Jermaine, 6th Grade
Here 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!
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.
“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.
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.
Congratulations 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.
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