Forest Life

Posted February 11, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

100_1831

If I lived in the forest, I would see turtles
and smell the flowers.
I would be a bird and fly away,
and would climb trees so high…
I would even jump in the water
with the turtles,
and give them food,
and they’d better not bite my fingers
or I would scream!
If I lived in the forest, I would touch
the mushrooms and they would be soft.
I would be a bird and make bird sounds.

by Mackenzie, 3rd grade

Writers in the Schools has partnered with the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center since 2002 to engage urban youth with their environment, exposing and educating students on the natural world.

Creative Writing Camp

Posted February 7, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Registration is filling up quickly!

Within the first 20 minutes of open registration, over 100 students enrolled in Creative Writing Camp, a WITS record! Though it comes as no surprise – with our 8 campuses, 70 classrooms, and now 23 years of camp – that parents and kids look to Creative Writing Camp as a staple of their summer plans. Enroll now and find out why Houston Press described the workshops as the “best effort to inject culture into Houston” and AOL City’s Best listed it among Houston’s 6 Best Summer Camps for Kids.

About Creative Writing Camp

Creative Writing Camp offers a supportive environment where children engage in writing stories, poetry, essays, and plays, as well as simply reading for pleasure. Through these activities even the most hesitant child discovers the joy in writing, the intrigue of language, and the confidence of authorship. Students will work with teachers and writers, and the low teacher-student ratios ensure individual attention. Workshops end with a culminating performance and/or reading, and each child will receive an anthology with their published work.

A Collaboration

The Summer Creative Writing Workshops are offered by Writers in the Schools in collaboration with Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Project (SLC).

Check out the 2012 Camp Highlights:

2012 Creative Writing Camp Highlights from Writers in the Schools on Vimeo.

I Believe

Posted January 30, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

DSC_1564

I believe in the pink, fresh flowers
That grow slowly in a garden.
I believe in the aroma of the strawberry, sweet perfume
That flows through the air.
I believe in the soft rain
That falls from the clouds to the ground.
I believe in the slippery black and white penguin
That plays with me.
I believe in the sour, yellow lemon with salt
That I adore.
I believe that one day I will see all of nature
That I am missing.
I believe in me.

by Julieta, 3rd grade

In My Dreams

Posted January 25, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

In partnership with Aurora Picture Show’s Media Arts Instructors Felisa Prieto and Camilo Gonzalez, students at KIPP Academy created short films from poems written in their WITS program with writer Autumn Hayes. Aurora was brought in to collaborate on creating stop-motion animation films from these poems. Enjoy!

To The Lady in White Cloth

Posted January 21, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

I saw your photo.
You were sitting in a police car;
you were going to jail.
You were strange
because you were not crying
when I saw you.
Just eating in a white
restaurant, that should not
have been big trouble.
You were fighting for your rights,
your rights as a citizen of these United States.
I know your dream is peace,
is calm,
is equality.
Maybe your children
wait for you at home;
maybe your sister needs
help with the cooking;
maybe your dear husband
wants to give you a birthday surprise.
But everything was broken
by the foolish rule about skin color.
Now, because of your courage,
your dream has come true.
Our dream has come true.
Everyone is equal in this free country,
whatever their skin color.
And we even have
an African American president
in our great country.
Congratulations, madam,
you helped to make our history.
You are successful beyond your dream.

by Tianli, 10th grade

Published in the 2011 The Watchful Eye Anthology, inspired by Civil Rights-Era Photographs at the Menil Collection

Students Writing at the Menil

Students Writing at the Menil

Tonight! Meta-Fourth Friday

Posted January 11, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Meta-Four-Jan-11

All Houston area youth ages 13-18 are invited to participate in the city’s first poetic choir. Come out tonight to Hope Stone Studio (1210 West Clay Street) 7-9pm for more information-its not too late to join! All participating students will perform at the Wortham Center Feb. 22. A special thank you to the Society of Performing Arts and Houston Public Library for making this all possible. Here is the calendar for the One Voice Poetic Choir:

January 11 (Fri)  

“One Voice Poetic Choir” Practice @ Hope Stone 7-9pm

January 25 (Fri)

Meta-Fourth Friday @ Jones Hall 6-7:30pm practice (8pm STOMP show time, students will be seated by 7:50) Food will be provided

February 16 (Sat)

“One Voice Poetic Choir” Run-through @ TBD location 10am-12pm

February 22 (Fri)

Meta-Fourth Friday “One Voice Poetic Choir” Performance @ Wortham Center arrive at 6pm, performance at 7pm (Food will be provided)

Experiments with Words

Posted December 14, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Experiments I’ve tested on me,
trouble is key,
a raft that’ll throw me in darkness,
cars that will send unbelievable gifts like punches,
decades filled with insults,
I run and don’t stop to look back.
No food, no water.
Never leaves my head, never.
Sailors taunt me with burgers and water.
Nobody here, but me,
nothing but green grass.
I’m old, but not dead yet.
Midnight fills me,
nothing fills my body.
My life ends with a lily.

by Gwyneth, 4th grade

 

Inside a Poem

Posted December 11, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Student Writer at Discovery Green

It doesn’t always have to rhyme,

but there’s the repeat of a beat, somewhere

an inner chime that makes you want to

tap your feet or swerve in a curve;

a lilt, a leap, a lightning – split: –

thunderstruck the consonants jut,

while the vowels open wide as waves in the noon-

blue sea.

by Eve Merriam (1916-1992)

This is a poem that greatly influenced new WITS Writer Florence Miyamoto.

Meet New WITS Writer Layla Benitez-James

Posted November 19, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Layla Benitez-James was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She realized early on that she absolutely loved Texas and studied English, Spanish, and creative writing at Trinity University in San Antonio. She was lucky enough to continue her Texas tour in Houston where she is currently an MFA student in the University of Houston’s creative writing program. Layla enjoys riding her horse, Tonka, and reading and writing poetry and short fiction.

As a new WITS writer I would love to help young writers discover new authors who inspire lifelong obsessions with creative writing. I remember getting obsessed with different lines of poetry or novels and they would just play in my head over and over and eventually find their way into my own work.

I was first introduced to Edna St. Vincent Millay in seventh grade with the poem “Counting-Out Rhyme.” I loved all of its rhymes and rhythms and memorized it so I could have it with me wherever I went. I cannot read it or recite it without smiling.

Counting-Out Rhyme

Silver bark of beech, and sallow
Bark of yellow birch and yellow
Twig of willow.

Stripe of green in moosewood maple,
Colour seen in leaf of apple,
Bark of popple.

Wood of popple pale as moonbeam,
Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam,
Wood of hornbeam.

Silver bark of beech, and hollow
Stem of elder, tall and yellow
Twig of willow.

Calling All Student Writers!

Posted November 13, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Poetic Power Poetry & Essay Contest

Poetry Contest Deadline: Dec. 6

Essay Contest Deadline: Feb. 19

Students: For each contest deadline, the top ten entries in each grade division (K-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12 for poetry) will receive a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free copy of the anthology that is created from the contest.

Teachers: Teachers with 5 or more students who give permission for publication will receive a free copy of the anthology that includes their student writers. Teachers also can qualify to apply for one of 50 $250 grants awarded each year.

Creative Communication is devoted to the promotion of writing, teaching and appreciation of student writing. The intent of the student writing contests is to motivate creative writers. The top entries are published in an anthology that will record the creative insights of today’s student writers. Visit their web site for more information: www.poeticpower.com

The Truthful Tongue

Posted November 6, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Landscape with Birds by Lucien Freud

My fall made a fortune of the alphabet
The small city trembled like a drum
Opera chants smelled like garlic
The sky looked like a clump of salt
Your secret was a gift to the tongue
The continent filled with ashes
The ink slipped into my tongue
The metaphor shot tomorrow into a million pieces
The flame jumped into a storm of Oklahoma stars
The crowd leaped over the fortune of gifts
In the morning my tongue swallowed my flute
Friday was born by laughing and remembering
My spitted truth made a knot in my tongue

by Luis, 7th grade
Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers

True Colors

Posted November 5, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

You see paintings shaped in upright rectangles.
But I see stars and a moon and also a blue sky.
There was a shooting star.
I made a wish to get everything purple.
It came true!
Now I am inspired to look at art and see
its true colors.
by Senyea, 4th grade

From Writing at the Menil, a 22-year old collaboration between Writers in the Schools (WITS) and the Menil Collection

WITS Students to Read at the Menil Collection this Saturday

Posted October 30, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Poems for a Quarter Century
Saturday, November 3, 2012

7:00 p.m. Free Public Program

Sasha West, poet, professor, and literary editor, will curate an evening of poetry readings about art and artists whose work hangs in the Menil Collection, including poems by Writers in the Schools students who visited the museum through the Writing at the Menil program. The Menil Collection is celebrating its 25th year anniversary with special events and programs.

Students reading art-inspired works at The Watchful Eye Reading in May at the Menil

Free Youth Spoken Word Workshops

Posted October 29, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Writers in the Schools is offering free spoken word workshops for high-school students every Monday and Wednesday through the Houston Public Library, led by WITS Writer and renown performance poet Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean.

Mondays from 4-5:30pm at Henington-Alief Regional Library (7979 South Kirkwood Rd.)

Wednesdays from 3:30-5pm at Smith Neighborhood Library (3624 Scott St.)

Click  here for specific dates.

Check out Meta-four Houston coach and workshop leader “Outspoken” Bean performing some of his poetry:

Meta-Fourth Fridays Tonight!

Posted October 26, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Join Meta-Four Houston every fourth Friday of the month to participate in a FREE spoken word workshop and poetry slam!

When: 7:00 pm – Workshop

8:00 pm – Slam

*Note: You must attend workshop to participate in the poetry slam

Where: Hope Stone Dance Studio

1210 West Clay

About Meta-Four

Meta-Four Houston encourages self-expression and literacy among Houston’s youth through creative writing and performance.

Public Poetry to Feature WITS’ Executive Director

Posted October 25, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

From Public Poetry:

“Poetry on TV??  Absolutely!  And we want YOU to be part of the audience on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 2 PM at Vinson Neighborhood Library, 3810 W Fuqua, 77045 when Houston Media Source’s camera rolls!

It’s all about filming our featured poets – Jasminne Mendez, John Pluecker, Robin Reagler and Scott Wiggerman – in a fabulous new library, built just two years ago, that is moving into the future.  It’s an inviting, interesting, people friendly place that combines both hi-tech and old school, with 46 computers, a colorful fantasy space for young kids to listen to story-time and another to express their creativity, a vibrantly hued hi-tech section that has flat screens for video gaming, side rooms for groups to meet spaced throughout, and of course, books and books and reading nooks.

Please arrive by 1:45. We’ll be set up for filming inside the rotunda entrance, sharing the space with artist Elaine Bradford’s zoo of vibrantly-hued crocheted animals. Filming will go on for about an hour and a half, so come prepared for that.  BUT, if you’re a camera shy lover of poetry, simply take a seat at the back, and you’ll be guaranteed off-camera privacy and anonymity.

Never camera shy, there will be some students reading their poems, too, including kids who participate withWriters In the Schools (WITS).”

Houston Poetry Fest This Weekend

Posted October 12, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Schedule and Lineup for the Weekend: 

Willow Street Pump Station, 811 North San Jacinto

http://houstonpoetryfest.info/

Friday, October 12 @ 7:30 p.m. 

Juried Poets

 

Jerry Bradley

Lillian Susan Thomas

Norma Edwards Koontz

Daniel Carrington, Jr.

Maria Illich

Adamarie Fuller

Terry Jude Miller

Sandi Stromberg

John E. Rice

UHD Visiting Writers

Meta-Four Houston (info)

Featured Poet

Cindy Huyser

Saturday, October 13 @ 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Traditional Open Reading

Saturday, October 13 @ 7:30 pm

Guest Poet

Credit: uhd.edu

Jane Creighton

Juried Poets

Lynn C. Reynolds

Elizabeth Sydnor

Christopher Carmona

Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

Elisa A. Garza

Oscar Peña

Sean Johnson

Julie Pujol-Karel

Larry L. Fontenot

Kelly Ann Ellis

Sunday, October 14 @ 2 pm

Guest Poet

Joseph Campana

Juried Poets

Craig Bertuglia

Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton

Winston Derden

Priscilla Frake

Kirsty McCormack

Geraldine Gobi Greig

Carolyn Praytor Boyd

John Milkereit

New and Free! Spoken Word Workshops

Posted October 10, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Led by WITS Writer and renown performance poet Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean, WITS is offering free Spoken Word workshops every Wednesday starting today at Smith Neighborhood Library. Open to all high school students, workshops will be from  3:30-5:00 p.m.

Smith Neighborhood Library
3624 Scott St.
Houston, Texas 77004
Workshops on the following dates: 
October 10
October 17
October 24
October 31
November 7
November 28
December 5
December 12
December 19
January 9
January 16
January 23
January 30
February 6
February 13 (Celebration)

 

Public Poetry Featuring WITS Student

Posted October 3, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Join us this Saturday, October 6th at 2pm, for a fantastic lineup of Public Poetry at the Vinson Neighborhood Library. A WITS student will read two pieces along with a talented selection of Houston writers. Free as always!

Visit Public Poetry for more information.