We are pleased to present a selection of sessions for, led by, or about youth poets and their education at Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016: Poems of Provocation & Witness.
Youth Open Mic
Hosted by Dominique Christina and Denice Frohman - Open to all poets 20 and under
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Young poets and emcees (20 and under) are invited to share their poetry in a lively and supportive atmosphere. The youth open mic will feature teens of the DC Youth Slam Team which took first place at 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, as well as other young poets who sign up to perform. Each artist can perform one piece, 3 minutes or less.
POETRY + PASSION = PURPOSE (A Writing Workshop on Community & Personal Visioning)
Foundry United Methodist Church Davenport Center
Saturday, April 16 9:30am – 11:00am [Map]
Poetry + Passion = Purpose is a Teens With a Purpose writing workshop in which participants mindfully manifest what they desire to see happen in their community, their neighborhood, and their lives, through creative expression. Poetry and music are fused throughout the experience. Participants will create a group piece that conveys a shared group value capable of reaching a broad audience, including, perhaps, people who do not share their values.
On the Move: Engaging New Poets - Four Milwaukee Social Justice Poetry Projects
Portia Cobb, Freesia McKee, Margaret Rozga, Angela Trudell Vasquez
Friday, April 15 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Four Milwaukee social justice poet-activists create projects that move, literally and metaphorically. They will engage the audience in discussing and practicing strategies for generating poetry in prisons, community-based workshops, even a bus road trip, and for keeping poetry experiences alive through print, performance, and video projects. Milwaukee’s Freedom Summer 50 project involved students in a semester-long multi-arts study of voter registration struggles and culminated in a bus trip to Mississippi’s Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary conference. Students wrote and read poems in open mics on the bus. At the ACLU of Wisconsin’s annual Youth Social Justice Forum, students learn the importance of free speech and telling their stories. Students hear poets present socially-conscious poetry, write their own pieces, and have the option to perform in this supportive environment. To address Milwaukee’s mass incarceration problem, a community-university partnership heeds Jimmy Santiago Baca’s advice: “If they won’t let our young brothers out, YOU GO IN.” Poets do readings with Prose & Cons in Racine, offer workshops at a men’s work-release prison, and collect books for a women’s prison. UW-Milwaukee’s cream city review’s fall 2015 issue is incarceration themed.
Language of the Unheard: Rural Children of Color and Literature
Alex "PoeticSoul" Johnson, Patrice Melnick, Rosalyn Spencer, Latasha Weatherspoon
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 101 [Map]
Friday, April 15 4:00pm – 5:30pm
In rural America, there are close to four million children of color: full of power, promise, possibility, and potential. Unfortunately, because they are in rural communities, they do not receive the media attention afforded to children of color in more urban areas, and they are often under-prioritized by charitable or benevolent organizations. Educators Patrice Melnick and Rosalyn Spencer will join poets-cum-spoken-word-artists Latasha Weatherspoon and Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson to explore the art of working with marginalized youth groups. Through active discussion, they will lead the roundtable in finding ways that literary artists can engage with youth, such as: Mentorship, volunteering at youth facilities, and organizing and actualizing artists’ presentations in schools, detention centers, and other facilities. Presenters and participants will consider the ways that literary artists act as youth activists, and how they can maximize their efficiency with methods like community grant programs and collaboration with other activists and community and religious organizations. Together, we –as poets, spoken word performers, and literary artists– will help our communities’ children thrive, succeed, and take the artistic and cultural future that is rightfully theirs.
Write Now: A Teen-Led Poetry Writing Workshop
Members of the DC Youth Slam Team
Saturday, April 16 11:30am – 1:00pm
Teen poets on Split This Rock’s DC Youth Slam Team lead this writing workshop open to all. Interactive, participatory, and discussion-based, this workshop will include games, analysis of poems, writing prompts, time for sharing, and free pens.
Looking at the Page: Page Considerations for Spoken Word Poets
Regie Cabico, Elizabeth Acevedo and DC Youth Slam Team alumni Kenya Newsome, Nesha Ruther, and Hannah Smallwood
Saturday, April 16 9:30am – 11:00am
This workshop will provide spoken word poets and performance poets with tools they can use when revising work in the hopes of publication. Some questions we will be considering: How do spoken word poets prepare their work for viewing on the page? What special considerations should performance poets make when editing work for publication in literary journals, chapbooks, or online? Poet and head coach of Split This Rock’s DC Youth Slam Team Elizabeth Acevedo and festival featured poet Regie Cabico guide this workshop with help from former students: Hannah Smallwood, Nesha Ruther, and Kenya Newsome.