Art + Poetry in the Downtown Tunnels

Posted June 2, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

gdri2WITS has partnered with the University of Houston-Downtown’s GDRI (Graphic Design Research Initiative) program to turn WITS students’ poetry into visual works of art! These works are on display now in the tunnel below Houston’s Downtown City Hall.

This traveling visual poetry exhibition uses techniques from fields that include concrete poetry, expressive typography, and visual literature, getting inspiration from dada-ism and futurism.

Painters use strokes and color schemes to express emotions on the canvas. Writers use words and stories to communicate emotion on the page. This exhibition celebrates the intersection of both worlds.


This partnership was made possible through the City of Houston and the Houston Arts Alliance. Printing support generously provided by Seebridge Media

To Mom: Branch

Posted June 1, 2016 & filed under Notebook.


Someone brought me a branch

Little tiny bugs work inside like ants
I felt happy when I got it
So many ideas of what to build

Someone brought me a branch

by Sa’nia, 1st grade

My Story is in My Hands

Posted May 27, 2016 & filed under Notebook.


My story is in my hands.
My hands help me taste good food and feel soft blankets.
My hands help me hear the piano and smell flowers.
My hands help me see a book.
My story is in my hands.

by Frida, 1st grade

Love Poem for a Cloud

Posted May 20, 2016 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

In the morning when the sun rises I imagine you

as someone I love who has passed away.

My eyes hunt for you when I am sad or mad.

I cherish your lovely whiteness.

You make my eyes water with happiness.

I adore your fluffiness that is softer than a dog.

Nothing will separate us, not even the wind that howls.

Our love is stronger than a lollipop.

I cherish you like a dog who cuddles with me.

In the evening I look up into the dark sky to find you.

I wait to read you a book.

By Kennedy, 2nd Grade

I Love Black

Posted May 17, 2016 & filed under Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.


Black is the night sky while you are sleeping.

Black is the sound of a crow chirping through the day.

Black smells like shoes on your feet.

Black feels spiky and hard, like a dinosaur’s spikes.

Black tastes like steak that was burned in the oven.

Black goes outside and jumps on a black horse.


by Drake, 3rd grade

Paged Out on May 6th

Posted May 2, 2016 & filed under Notebook.


Meta-Four Houston poets Rukmini and Donald are organizing a youth slam event that will take place on May 6th. Please join us at 6 pm at Sharpstown High School in Houston.


Outspoken Bean Promotes Spoken Word at the Red Cloud Indian School

Posted & filed under Notebook.

fb-Banner-Visiting-Poet-Series-Bean-1Oustpoken Bean motivated and inspired the students at the Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota over the weekend. Many of the students there already perform spoken word, participate in an on-campus writers’ society, and attend Dances with Words, a reservation-wide, afterschool program that holds interactive writing workshops.

Outspoken Bean worked with students as part of the Visiting Poet Series, launched by The Heritage Center and Red Cloud teachers.

“What I want students to take away from these workshops is the desire to explore beyond where they are—to use whatever talent and skills they have to expand and broaden their horizons,” said Bean.

See more at:

Poetry Takes Over Downtown Houston

Posted April 26, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

FullSizeRender 10Houston 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!

The Youth Lead the Way, Space City

Posted April 22, 2016 & filed under 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.

Poetry Contest | Bayou Preservation Association

Posted April 13, 2016 & filed under Contest, News, Notebook, Poem, Student Writing.

BPA logo

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.

Download the complete contest details here >>

Happy writing!

Congratulations to our prelim slam winners!

Posted April 8, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

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).

12pm Slamguide


3:30pm Slam

Kronic Writer

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!

Glass Half Full

Posted March 21, 2016 & filed under Notebook.


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

For Kids Who Prefer Video Games Over Writing

Posted March 14, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

Writers in the Schools is offering…

WITS Digital Summer Camp @ Briarmeadow Charter School


image_witsdigitalGame 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).

Registration Now Open »


Young Authors Writing Contest

Posted March 9, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

10. Kianna VallardeSister 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:

Writing Contest: Poets for Peace

Posted March 2, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

origami-565954_1920Young 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

Posted February 22, 2016 & filed under Notebook.

sisters-781098_1920A 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

Posted February 15, 2016 & filed under Notebook, WITS People.

imgresCongrats 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!