Meta-Four Houston Wows Crowd at John Lewis Event at Wortham

Posted March 2, 2015 & filed under Event, News.

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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.

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Who Will Be the Next Houston Poet Laureate?

Posted February 26, 2015 & filed under Contest, News.

Houston Poet Laureate

2015 Call for Applications and Nominations

Deadline: March 13, 2015 | 5 PM

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!

WITS Wins Grant from Youth Speaks for Meta-Four Houston

Posted February 24, 2015 & filed under News.

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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.”

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Former WITS Writers Read at Blaffer Art Museum Innovation Series

Posted February 10, 2015 & filed under Event, Fiction, News, Poem, WITS People.

Don’t miss former WITS writers Lacy, Nancy, Jameelah, and David at the upcoming Blaffer Art Museum Innovation Series event on Feb. 17, 4 p.m.
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Here is information about this special series from the Blaffer website:

In both the arts and the sciences, if we do our jobs well, it never leads to a final answer — always to more questions.” — Janet Biggs

The Blaffer Art Museum Innovation Series is the most ambitious lineup of public programs the museum has ever organized around a single exhibition. Janet Biggs: Echo of the Unknown features works inspired by the artist’s memories of the effects of Alzheimer’s on family members. Combining video, sound and objects, this multidimensional exhibition draws on heroic stories of public figures coping with the disease and research conducted with neurologists and geoscientists to raise fundamental questions about how we become—and lose our sense of—who we are.

Designed to amplify the exhibition’s role as a catalyst for cross-disciplinary learning, the series’ lectures, presentations, gallery talks and interactive programs will highlight collaborations across the UH community and beyond.

Please attend “Memory & Identity: Five Writers Talk about the Difficult & Dynamic Relationship Between the Two” with Peter Turchi, author of A Muse & A MazeLacy M. Johnson, author of The Other SideNancy Pearson, author of Two Minutes of LightJameelah Lang, Ph.D candidate, UH Creative Writing Program; & David Stuart MacLean, author of The Answer to the Riddle is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia.

Former WITS Writer’s Memoir Tops List of 2014 Books

Posted December 10, 2014 & filed under News, WITS People.

LacyJohnson In the latest issue of KIRKUS REVIEWS, WITS writer Lacy M. Johnson’s THE OTHER SIDE: A MEMOIR is listed as one of the top memoirs of 2014. Founded in 1933, Kirkus has been serving book lovers for over 80 years. Kirkus Reviews magazine gives the scoop on notable books about to be released and provides thoughtful reviews of the best fiction, nonfiction, children’s,and teen books. Congratulations to Lacy!

WITS at the Houston Arts Partners Conference 2014

Posted September 4, 2014 & filed under Event, News.

images-1WITS will be presenting several exciting panels at the 2014 Houston Arts Partners Conference. This year’s theme is The Global Classroom: Cultures & Communities.

Come out to hear Nick Rabkin, the Keynote Speaker, who has more than two decades of experience as an advocate for the arts in public education as well as Featured Speaker James Haywood Rolling Jr., Dual Professor of Art Education and Teaching and Leadership in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the School of Education at Syracuse University.

Advance registration is closed, but you can register in person on the day of the conference for $5 more. For more information about the panels and downloadthe schedule of events on September 5th & 6th at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, click here.

 

 

Paula Poundstone VIP Ticket Auction Benefiting WITS

Posted June 11, 2014 & filed under Event, News, Notebook.

Comedy Portrait Session With Paula Poundstone At The Ice House Comedy Club

WITS is auctioning off 2 pit tickets to the Paula Poundstone comedy show on June 27th plus invitations to the VIP after party! Tickets in the pit section are officially SOLD OUT, and we have the last 2! Proceeds from this sale will help us send our performance poetry team, Meta-Four Houston, to the Brave New Voices International Festival and Competition in Philadelphia this July. Place your bid today!

Meta-Four’s Jordan Makes Houston 100 Creatives!

Posted May 10, 2014 & filed under News, Press, WITS People.

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Congratulations to Meta-Four Houston student Jordan Simpson, named by the Houston Press to their top 100 Creatives list. Last year Jordan and his team-mates won 1st place in the Texas Youth Poetry Slam. This summer they will represent Houston at the International Brave New Voices Festival in Philadelphia.

Post Poetry-Month Thankfulness

Posted May 1, 2014 & filed under Event, News.

Thank you for celebrating National Poetry Month with Writers in the Schools. It has been a huge month for WITS and for poetry in Houston. We have just concluded our first poetry contest in partnership with KPRC Local 2 and our two winners will read their poems to air for Mother’s Day. GONZO247 created a stunning visual of a WITS student’s poem, downtown at GreenStreet, and it was completed on Earth Day. An editorial in praise of National Poetry Month by our executive director, Robin Reagler, was published in the Sunday Houston Chronicle.

If you enjoyed reading poems by WITS students during National Poetry Month, here are some options for staying in the WITS loop throughout the year:

May creativity spur you onward each and every day. Happy May!

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We would like to thank H-E-B Tournament of Champions, Copy.com, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, and Texas Commission on the Arts for sponsoring Poem a Day. A very special thanks goes to KPFT  90.1 FMJohnston Middle School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Principal Wenden Sanders, his students, and teachers, and producer Susan Phillips for producing and featuring the poems on the radio each weekday.

Young Writers Reading at Menil Fest on Saturday

Posted April 29, 2014 & filed under Event, News.

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60 of the finest young writers in Houston will share their original stories and poems at Menil Fest this Saturday at 12 noon. Writers in the Schools (WITS) will host the annual Young Writers Reading at the Menil Collection on May 3, 2014. The event is free, and the public is welcome.

Congratulations to our Poetry Contest Winners

Posted April 25, 2014 & filed under Contest, Event, News.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the WITS + KPRC Local 2 Wax Poetic about Mom 2014 poetry contest. We had nearly 100 entries via facebook and email! We are happy to announce the judge’s choice as well as the people’s choice award winners.

Congratulations to our judge’s choice winner Maddox for his poem “Guardian of Kids” and the people’s choice winner Lauren for her poem “Mommy”.

Make sure you tune in to KPRC Local 2 on Sunday, May 11 to hear these poems on-air! And don’t forget to attend Menil Fest Saturday, May 3rd at 12pm where you can see the winners read live at our Young Writers Reading.

Guardian of Kids
My mom is the ferocious dragon
Defending her egg on the lake.
My mom is the queen of nature
And defender of homes.
She always lets me have
The last piece of food at the dining table.
My mom is the chef of all sweets in the world.
She is the gatekeeper of perfume land.
When I am sick, the bridge to heaven
Opens when she walks through the door.
When I yell for help
She is like a gust of wind ready to aid me.
Whoosh!
by Maddox, 4th grade
Mommy
Most elegant of the family
Honest with people
Most unique in the world
Most secure woman I know
You’re beautiful
by Lauren, 2nd grade

Bringing Poetry to Life in Downtown Houston

Posted April 21, 2014 & filed under Event, News, Notebook.

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Writers in the Schools and GreenStreet have partnered to bring poetry to life in downtown Houston. GONZO247 has created a spectacular new mural using a poem by a WITS-Houston student. Join us on April 22nd at GreenStreet (1201 Main Street) from 12-1 PM for the unveiling of this work of art and for pop-up poetry performances and the chance to meet some of our city’s most talented young writers. There will be a photo booth, and The Golden Grill food will also be parked by the performance.