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 (School names will not be published unless you explicitly ask us to do so.)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.”
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.
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 Maze; Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Other Side; Nancy Pearson, author of Two Minutes of Light; Jameelah Lang, Ph.D candidate, UH Creative Writing Program; & David Stuart MacLean, author of The Answer to the Riddle is Me: A Memoir of Amnesia.
The Museum District Business Association recently honored Writers in the Schools with its 2014 Community Improvement at the Hotel Zaza. The award was presented to WITS Executive Director Robin Reagler by KPRC-TV’s Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley.For a list of the 2014 recipients, click here.
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!
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 the schedule of events on September 5th & 6th at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, click here.
Thanks to KPRC TV Channel 2 for airing not one but BOTH of the winning poets this Sunday morning. Both Maddox and Lauren got to read their poems for their moms on Mother’s Day. What a memorable gift! Here are both segments, just in case you missed them.
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.
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 SundayHouston 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:
Make a donation and keep the Writers in the Schools programs reaching as many Houston children as possible!
May creativity spur you onward each and every day. Happy May!
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 FM, Johnston 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.
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.
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.
by Maddox, 4th grade
Most elegant of the family
Honest with people
Most unique in the world
Most secure woman I know