National Poetry Month 2019

Posted April 5, 2019 & filed under Notebook.

WITS is celebrating National Poetry Month!

Join us at our WITS events in April–we can’t wait to celebrate poetry with you! Use our hashtag #HoustonIsPoetry to connect with us on social media.

April 7th: Space City Slam Grand Slam

Watch as the most talented youth poets in Houston perform original poetry in front of a live audience for the chance to join Meta-Four Houston and represent our city at Brave New Voices this summer. Jackson Neal, Houston Youth Poet Laureate and 3-time Meta-Four Houston member, will be our emcee! Sunday April 7th, 3pm at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH).

Reserve your free standby ticket here:

https://witshouston.org/grandslam

April 8th: KPFT Open Journal

Tune in to KPFT’s Open Journal Monday, April 8th at 6pm for an interview with WITS Executive Director Robin Reagler and Bayouth Collective co-founder and member Mackenzie. Hear about their work and the impact of poetry in Houston.

Listen here, or on the radio at 90.1FM:

http://kpft.org/

April 13th: Young Writers Reading Series – Blooms

At our Young Writers Reading, WITS students read their work for the first time in front of an audience. Celebrate storytelling as our young writers share their best poems, stories, and essays from the school year at this important and exciting experience that will stay with them for a lifetime. Saturday April 13th, 11:30am at Discovery Green.

Sundays, April – June: Poetry and Pose

A free family-friendly program for Houston’s creative writing and yoga enthusiasts. The session will open with a 45 minute creative writing activity inspired by yoga practice and close with a 45 minute yoga session with an instructor from Happy Feet Yoga. 11 am at Discovery Green every Sunday, Hess Deck Patio.

H-E-B Poetry Pop-Ups

While shopping for groceries at H-E-B stores, take a look around for WITS student poems! In the classroom, our writers encourage students to write about what they love most–and often, that includes food. With Poetry Pop-Ups at the Bellaire, Buffalo Speedway, Bunker Hill, Heights, Montrose, and San Felipe locations, WITS partners with H-E-B stores around Houston to share that love with our communities. Can you find all of the poems in your store?

Rain Poems

Our WITS Bayouth Collective will be installing poetry in Buffalo Bayou Park–with a catch. Bring some water or wait for a rainy day to reveal #rainpoems, stenciled in invisible ink that only emerges when wet. Look for signs near water fountains on the trail for a chance to splash water on the poetry-covered path:

 

* Eleanor Tinsley Park

* Rosemont Bridge

* Inside the dog park

* Houston Police Memorial

 

Poem-A-Day

Follow our Twitter for daily excerpts from WITS classrooms, Facebook for weekly student poems, and Instagram for three-panel reveals and stories from our events!

 

Meta-Fourth Friday (For Poets Only)

Posted January 29, 2014 & filed under Notebook.

WITS offers writing workshops and poetry slams for young writers between the ages of 13-19. Please join us for Meta-Fourth Friday. Because of the winter weather,it is rescheduled for Friday, January 31st, held 7 -9 PM at Hope Stone, 1210 West Clay, Suite 26, (the cross street is Van Buren) Houston, TX 77019.

This free program 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.wits metafour houston 813

Calling All Rappers: Free Teen Writing Workshops

Posted November 19, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

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WITS offers free writing workshops and poetry slams on the 4th Friday of every month.  If you are between the ages of 13-19, come join us for Meta-Fourth Friday. This month because of the holidays it will be December 20th, held 7:00-9:00 PM at Hope Stone, 1210 West Clay, Suite 26, (the cross street is Van Buren) Houston, TX 77019.

This free program 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.

WITS at TEDx Houston on Saturday

Posted October 10, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

423717_10150734727980763_1061110835_nWITS students from the 2013 Meta-Four team and WITS writer Outspoken Bean will be presenters at TEDx Houston 2013 at Rice University on Saturday. Former WITS writers Rick Brennan, Sarah Cortez, and Sehba Sarwar will also be speaking at this event to be held at Rice University. For more information, visit TEDx Houston on Facebook.

Letters to the Sun

Posted July 12, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

 

Summer Sun

The Heat is very hot and scorching,
causing drought and sweat.
Weeds and caterpillar grass are
drooping and then dying.
It is so hot!
You are playing around
and not caring about us!

By Olivia

Heat
Heat, heat
it is moist.
Sweating, sweating,
It makes you hot.

By Ryan

Dear Sun
O sun, your heat disappoints many.
Instead of singing, the birds
Are probably just yelling at you.
O sun, my skin is blazing in flames.
I get sunburns, so even inside,
I blaze in flames.

O sun, you make me tired and thirsty.
And don’t even get started on my eyes –
They burn and get tired of squinting
and blinking quickly.

O sun, black must be your favorite color.
No wonder you burn us!

By Grace

(Photo by Dan E. Johnson via Flickr)

Final Letter from WITS Intern

Posted May 22, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Dear Readers,

0-2This past Tuesday marked my last day at Travis Elementary as an assistant teacher with the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. On my final day, the Travis kids were asked to read one to two of their favorite compositions, which were published in their WITS Anthology, on a stage and in front of an audience.

I met MaryScott at the Multi-Purpose Activity Court, where she had already arranged the folding chairs for an audience,set up the microphone and speakers, adjusted the ‘WITS-purple’ lighting, and covered a flowery tablecloth with fresh baked cookies and juice boxes. The room was ready.

0-1One-by-one, the first group of fourth graders filed in. They circled the snack table, eyeing the cookies, on their way to the folding chairs. After MaryScott announced the ‘rules’ (that is, perform your poem before indulging in the cookies), the kids went to work. They approached the microphone, undaunted by their audience, and read the poems they had worked on all year.

0I managed the snack table, handing the kids a cookie and a high-five after each performance. The performance was both delightful and sad; of course, I’d miss those kids. Before leaving the gymnasium, most of them lined up behind the snack table to give me goodbye hugs, ask me if I’d be teaching 5th grade next year, or shout an elated “Thank You, Miss Eriel!”

These students were a quirky bunch, and I enjoyed every hour I spent with both groups – no matter how much King Cake they consumed, which quadrupled their energy levels, or how many beanbags they had dotting the floor, turning the classroom into an obstacle course, the time was always well spent. I’ll miss reading their work and helping them through the editing process. I’ll miss listening to them debate over how old I was – they couldn’t decide between twelve and fourteen. I’ll miss the girls asking when I’d finally bring ‘Flounder’ and ‘Sebastian’ with me to Travis.

It has been a delight working with students at Travis Elementary, WITS writer MaryScott Hagle, and the WITS community. I hope to see and work with all of them in the future.

Sincerely,

Eriel, WITS Intern

Space City Grand Slam Saturday, May 11th, Oh Yeah!

Posted May 6, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Meta-Four Logo upgrade

This Saturday 18 young poets will compete, and the winners will become the Meta-Four Houston Team for 2014. These performance poets will represent Houston in the Brave New Voices International Festival in Chicago (August 2013).

When: 10 am – 12 noon

Where: HPL Central Library Downtown – 4th floor

Cost: Free

The MC will be Outspoken Bean. DJ will be King Henry. The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee will announce the winners.

Meta-Four Houston is a program of Writers in the Schools (WITS). WITS is thankful to these awesome partners:

Travelers
City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance

BNV-2013-About

Land of the Lone Star

Posted April 30, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.

Leaving land of lone star

of heat, humidity, and horses

on a huge white bird

over open ocean

in night’s ebony embrace

Out of the ominous

an amazing archipelago

the pearl of perfection

the majesty of mountains

home

By Samuel, 7th Grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by  Carson Brown, a 6th grader at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

WITS Writer Interviewed on Purple Songs Can Fly Radio Show

Posted April 25, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

anitagracieWriters in the Schools (WITS) is thrilled to have partnered with Purple Songs Can Fly since its inception.  This innovative program provides a musical outlet for the many children being treated for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. Children work with Purple Songs Can Fly founder, Anita Kruse, and other professional composers to write and record their own songs.

fabianwguitarThrough VoiceAmerica Kids Network, Purple Songs Can Fly also hosts an online radio show.  In the latest episode teenagers Emily Freeman and Zachary Tavlin interview WITS writer Marcia Chamberlain, who teaches at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.  Marcia has assisted many children to write poems and songs recorded by Purple Songs Can Fly.

The VoiceAmerica show airs online every Monday at 3:00pm PST/6:00pm EST and is broadcast internationally. To hear the interview with WITS writer Marcia Chamberlain, click here and listen to Episode 6.

Hardly Myself

Posted & filed under Poem of the Day.

 

Today again I am hardly myself.

Grass sprouts from my hair like antennae.

Flowers become my eye lashes

as bark covers my soul.

My teeth are like acorns

crunching on my concrete tongue.

Rocks and stones become

my hardcore bones.

Thorns grow like fingernails

on my berry-scented skin.

Roses are my ears,

only for the bees.

My toes are the squishy

clay straight from the ground.

The plaque on my teeth is

like rust from metal.

My lungs beat like the

countdown on a clock.

Why, why am I hardly myself?

By J. B., 4th Grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Elizabeth Tyska, an 8th grade at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

Oceanlight

Posted April 24, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.

 

A haunted lighthouse flicks on

and off. Sailors get lost.

The moon beams onto the middle

of the ocean.

Until a breezy wind floats by

and no more light shines.

Only sounds of waves float by

And mystery falls into the air.

By Julia, 3rd Grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Kevin Hernandez, a 6th grader at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

Outdoor Poetry Events on April 20th

Posted April 18, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Come out and enjoy lovely weather and superb poetry this Saturday, April 20th.  WITS students will participate in events across the city.

image006An incredible line-up of WITS students will be reading their poems and stories on the Menil Entrance Stage at 12 noon as part of the Menil Community & Houston Indie Book Festival. Bring a blanket and stay the whole afternoon!  This annual family-oriented festival features music, film, yoga, children’s story time, and food trucks! WITS writers also will be leading FREE writing tours of the Menil Collection at 1 PM and 3 PM.

66445_authorxaviergarzIn addition to the WITS reading at the Menil Community & Houston Indie Book Festival, several WITS students will read with award-winning author Monica Brown, whose books include Tito PuenteMambo King and Clara and the Curandera, at Discovery Green as part of the Día de los niños/Día de los libros celebration from 12 noon to 2 PM.  This event is also free and open to the public.  It will be kicked off by Houston’s new Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Zepeda.

Meta-FourLast but not least, our Meta-Four youth performance poets will be making appearances at several parks, including the Park at Palm Center, George T. Nelson Park, and MacGregor Park, as part of the AWE Celebration to promote arts, wellness, and the environment.

 

 

q

Posted & filed under Poem of the Day.

Who are you, little q?

I am a music note

Sitting on a page

Waiting for someone to play me

I’ll be in the orchestra someday

My dreams are waiting to come true

I wait all night

for you to listen to me

By Regina, 3rd grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Charlotte Ehlers at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

Yellow

Posted April 17, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.

Yellow

is a sun

lighting the day.

Yellow is a banana

in my stomach. Yellow

is my mother

forever cleaning

in the kitchen.

Yellow is cold

as gold. It is a rock

a child paints. A yellow blanket

wrapping a baby. It is

the smell of vegetable soup

and birthday cake. Yellow

is a duckling swimming

when the sun is setting.

By Diego, 3rd grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Trevor Mangum at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

My River

Posted April 15, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.


My river begins with hunger.

My mother calls me in my mind.

As I hear her,

hear her,

as she sees me,

I feel that I can touch her

and smell the perfume of her body.

She is a daily memory

as if she passes by me

with her smell of cheetah.

By Kayla, 4th Grade

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Kendall Pickens, a 7th grader at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer and KPFT volunteer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

Dear Dad

Posted April 12, 2013 & filed under Poem of the Day.

 

You are the campfire that smells like earth

and you are like the letter ‘U.’

You are the soccer team and

the ball getting a goal

that helps your team win. You are a

car driving all over the world.

However, you are not the pizza

trapped in heat. You are not the

paddle that slips from the canoe.

You are not the dinosaur that eats boys.

I am the days of swimming and catching fish

with friends. I am playing cars and making goals.

I am the sun that walks the earth.

By Ulises, 3rd Grade

[audio http://wits.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/10-dear-dad-4-12-13.mp3

Click the link above to listen to the poem read on KPFT radio by Ajay Ramsander, a 6th grader at Johnston Middle School For the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

This poem is featured as part of the 2013 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. 

Special thanks to Susan Phillips, an independent radio producer in Houston, who recorded and produced all the poems for the WITS A Poem a Day campaign.  

That’s Up to You

Posted March 4, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

 

One day I was running through the woods.  It felt great, like my lungs were going to burst.  I kept going, never wanting to stop.  Suddenly, I saw something in the flowers move.  It looked like a fairy girl, and she was waving her arms in the air.  I stopped to see what I was looking at.  I was sure it must be the medicine I was taking that was making me see things.  But, there she was, a tiny girl with long hair and big eyes and wings. I asked her what she wanted.  She said, “To be happy.”  I said, “That’s up to you.”  Then, I kept running.

By Sariah, 4th grade