Rattle Wants to Hear Your Voice

Posted September 5, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

“There’s not a bad poet in first grade. None of them are anything but fresh and original … they don’t know how to avoid being original.”
—Sharon Olds, from Rattle #17

Rattle published an issue in 1998 of children’s poems, which is now out of print.  This year the editors want to begin an annual tradition of publishing work by young authors.

Be part of the 2013 issue!  If you are 15 or younger, you may submit up to 5 poems for consideration. Please visit the Rattle website for all the details about this wonderful opportunity to become a published poet in a premier journal.

Good luck, writers!

Public Poetry Reading at The Carriage House

Posted September 4, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

13_publicpoetry_summerseries_septemberPublic Poetry is back again with a stellar line-up of poets.

Join us on Saturday, September 7th, at 2 PM for our Summer Series reading at the historic Clayton Library, The Carriage House, 5300 Caroline, 77004.

As always, a WITS student will kick off the event with an original poem.

You won’t want to miss the last sizzling reading of summer 2013.

See you there!

Free Slam Poetry Workshops for Teens

Posted August 22, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Meta-FourIf you are between the ages of 13-19, come join us for Meta-Fourth Fridays, held Fridays from 7:00-9:00 PM at Hope Stone, 1210 West Clay, Suite 26, Houston, TX 77019. Bring a friend or come solo and meet some new friends.

These free workshops will teach you how to write and perform original poetry about issues that are important to you. Share your work in a supportive environment and grow as a writer.

Dates for Meta-Fourth Fridays, all free and open to teens 13-19:

September 27
October 25
November 22
December 20

Tell your friends!

Chris Cander at Brazos Book Store

Posted August 15, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

sm_chris_canderMark your calendars today for next Thursday’s reading by WITS writer Chris Cander at Brazos Book Store (2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX, 77005). Her fiction book 11 Stories explores the life of Roscoe Jones, a trumpet prodigy who loses a finger in the elevator of the apartment building where he lives as a child and goes on to become superintendent of the same building as a man. David Eagleman, New York Times bestselling author, calls Cander “a bold new voice in American letters.” Please join us for this special event next Thursday, August 22nd, at 7 PM.

Public Poetry Reading

Posted May 31, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

13_publicpoetry_springseries_juneJoin us this Saturday, June 1st, at 2 PM to hear a fantastic line-up of poets at the Oak Forest Neighborhood Library, 1349 West 43rd Street, Houston, TX, 77018.

Participating poets include James Adams, Darla McBryde, Dustin Pickering, and Charlie Scott. A WITS student also will perform, so come out and support the arts at this Public Poetry event!

Public Poetry exists to bring the public and poetry community together and to create a buzz about poetry. Public Poetry was awarded the Best Reading Series in Houston by the Houston Press.

Poetry Around Town

Posted May 1, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Houston is Poetry Town.  Every weekend there are events featuring poets young and old.  Don’t miss the fun!

Here are two free WITS-related poetry events on Saturday, May 4th:

13_publicpoetry_springseries_mayPublic Poetry, the award-winning monthly reading series, will be at Oak Forest Neighborhood Library at 1349 West 43rd Street, Houston, TX, 77018, at 2 PM.  Featured poets include WITS Associate Director Bao-Long Chu.

Pluto Wild-Card Slam will be at Heights Neighborhood Library, 1302 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008, from 10 AM-12 PM. Youth ages 13-19 are encouraged to participate.  A poetry workshop will kick off the morning, followed by a slam competition.

Young Authors @ the Menil Community Arts & Houston Indie Book Festival

Posted April 17, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

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Please join us this Saturday, April 20th, at noon to support young authors at the annual Writers in the Schools BLOOMS reading event.  BLOOMS is part of the Houston Young Writers Reading Series, and these young writers were chosen from thousands of children across the city of Houston.  Children in grades K-12 will read original poems, stories, and essays on the lawn of the Menil Collection. Please clap loudly for these brave voices!

We invite you to bring a blanket and a lawn chair and spend the entire afternoon with us enjoying poetry, music, film, and yoga at this festival for the whole family. For more information about the festival and a timeline of events, please visit the Menil Collection website.  See you at 12 noon on Saturday!

Meta-Four Youth Poetry Slam

Posted April 4, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Photograph - Meta-Four Students Performing 2 copy

Join other youth for a Meta-Four Youth Poetry Slam hosted by Outspoken Bean, the 2013-14 Houston V.I.P. Slam Champ!

Writers in the Schools provides a safe, encouraging environment where teens of diverse backgrounds and economic circumstances can explore and express their truths through workshops and poetry slams.

Youth ages 13-19 are encouraged to participate in free year-round weekly workshops and monthly open-mic events hosted by Writers in the Schools. In the spring and summer, youth poets are selected through a series of slam competitions to represent Houston in the annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival.

Meta-FourThe next FREE Space City Slam is:

April 6 (Sat) @ Houston Public Central Library 10-12pm

Bring your friends for a poetry workshop and slam. Spread the word!

Public Poetry Event on April 6th!

Posted April 3, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.

This is going to be fun!  Join us this Saturday, April 6th, at 2 PM at the Oak Forest Neighborhood Library for a memorable event.

There will be four fabulous poets who read their work, plus a special guest appearance by a young author from Writers in the Schools (WITS). Afterwards, meet and greet other poets at Plonk. Don’t miss the chance to catch Public Poetry in a new part of town!

13_publicpoetry_springseries_april

Public Poetry exists to bring the public and poetry community together, and to create a buzz about poetry.

A monthly reading series is presented at various library locations in partnership with Houston Public Library.

The Average Fourth Grader is a Better Poet than You (and Me Too)

Posted March 18, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

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Please visit Harriet, the literary blog for the Poetry Foundation, so that you can read Hannah Gamble’s guest post “The Average Fourth Grader is a Better Poet Than You (and Me Too).”

Hannah explains how teaching 3rd-6th graders in Houston, Texas, with Writers in the Schools (WITS) made her a better poet.

Hannah, former editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, is the author of Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast (2012), selected by Bernadette Mayer for the 2011 National Poetry Series.

Thanks for your inspirational words, Hannah!

Horse Barn

Posted April 26, 2012 & filed under Poem of the Day.


When we get there

the horses in their stalls

paw the dirt.

I cough in the dust.

We grab the feed,

and they whinny at me

when I pass by.

I get a brush; very tenderly

I scrape off the dirt.

They are as dusty and steamy

as a train when it chugs

down the track.

When we feed the mares,

their babies skip after us.

They run so fast

they fall.

by Isabella, 3rd grade

Click the link (above) to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Gabriel Arnold, a 4th grade student at Parker Elementary in Houston.

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This poem is featured as part of the 2012 A Poem A Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by Writers in the Schools (WITS) that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April. Click here to learn more.

The Rock

Posted April 25, 2012 & filed under Poem of the Day.

I block

the feelings that beat

against my shell.

I have beauty inside me

longing to be shown

to the world.

I am stiff with

the emotions that swirl

in my body.

I watch the butterflies

dance around me

with flaps of pride.

When it rains, I show

my shiny shell to the

lady called the flower.

She drops a warm petal on me

to show that we are no

different in soul.

For what would life be

without soul?

It doesn’t matter

what you have within,

only the soul matters.

As the sun’s rays hammer

into me, my beauty

faintly shows.

I am a rock.

by Ioana, 3rd grade

Click the link (above) to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Thomas Girardet, a 4th grade student at Parker Elementary in Houston.
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This poem is featured as part of the 2012 A Poem A Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by Writers in the Schools (WITS) that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April. Click here to learn more.

Singing Birds

Posted April 10, 2012 & filed under Poem of the Day.

In the morning a bird sings

“chirp, chirp, chirp.”

It sings about how it wants

to use words instead of sounds.

Soon there is a choir of birds

singing about what they want to do.

They will sing about eating good food,

about being grown.

They will sing about human things,

how they would want arms for wings,

and mouths for beaks, singing.

by Luke, 3rd grade

Click the link (above) to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Alexandra Maynard, a 4th grader from Parker Elementary.
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This poem is featured as part of the 2012 A Poem A Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by Writers in the Schools (WITS) that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April. Click here to learn more.

Lily Pads

Posted April 4, 2012 & filed under Poem of the Day.

 

I like the lily pads that float on the pond

Green with a touch of pizzazz

The lily pad is the only one who has a heart

It spreads its magical beauty with its pinky petals

They come in all shapes and sizes

One is purple, a small sliver like a broken heart

It is a beautiful thing to look at in winter

by Alvara, 4th grade

Click the link (above) to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Jennvie Bui, a 2nd grader from Parker Elementary.

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This poem is featured as part of the 2012 A Poem A Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by Writers in the Schools (WITS) that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April. Click here to learn more.

WITS Supports Public Poetry!

Posted September 1, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

Poetry is alive and well in Houston! Public Poetry, a nonprofit organization founded to bring poets and the general community together and to create a buzz about poetry, is ready to celebrate again.

Join in the fun at Kendall Neighborhood Library (609 N. Eldridge, 77079) on Saturday, September 3rd, at 2 PM.

This month’s featured poets include Hayan Charara, Marcell Murphy, longtime WITS supporter Susan Wood, and WITS writer Ryler Dustin. KUHF‘s St. John Flynn will make a guest appearance, and student poet, Lucie Gulick, from WITS will perform!

After the reading, we’ll head over to Beans Café Coffeehouse for some good conversation.  Directions: Turn right out of the library parking lot, and then take 1st left just after the first traffic light (1127 Eldridge Parkway).

Mention PUBLIC POETRY and get a 10% discount on any coffee drink. Original photos from Katya Horner will be on display. Enjoy a great hour of on September 3rd, 2 PM, Kendall Neighborhood Library.

Fiddle-i-fee Story Basket Lesson

Posted September 6, 2010 & filed under Fiction, Lesson Plan, mentor text, Notebook.

Grade level: Kindergarten – 1st

Genre: various

Objectives: To involve the students in listen to a story read aloud

Primary sources: Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee by Paul Galdone

Materials: a basket with small stuffed animal characters from the book Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee

Contributors: Brooke Brown, Linda Draper

This story basket activity ensures the active participation of all students in listening to a book read aloud. Originally used with Cat Goes Fiddle-i-fee, it can easily be adapted to any book by printing and laminating images of the story’s characters. Additionally, the students could make representations of the characters in the book as a pre-reading, art project.

Have the students sit in a circle on the floor with the “story basket” in the center which contains characters and farm animals from the book. The students should each take one animal from the story basket as the book is read aloud, listen for the appropriate time to place their character back in the basket.