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A fourteen-year-old boy posts videos of himself crooning tunes on YouTube. The same boy later becomes one of the biggest pop sensations of 2010; his success all due to the largest video sharing website there is, YouTube. Forty-six years worth of videos are watched every day; and 24 hrs worth of footage are uploaded every minute. I am part of a generation that the majority believes YouTube to be a staple of every day life. Its presence is almost as unnoticed as breathing though it is a vital player to our daily tasks and the music industry.
When Barack Obama ran in the most recent presidential election he used the Internet to create a grassroots movement and the same thing happens on YouTube. Local artists start up YouTube channels that allow direct interaction between the artist and the viewer, meaning an artist has a lot more exposure. By subscribing to an artist on YouTube you allow a more personal and effective way of building up a fanbase. The Internet allows voices to be heard across the masses while allowing personal interactions.
When reading poetry nothing is without meaning and the same could be said about social interactions; our words often only telling half the story and our punctuation, tone, and body language finish our tales. But what exactly is the protocol of nonverbal communication? Should we take the abbreviation of words to simply mean laziness or could they mean more? In a text from my mother she wrote, "i luv u," and I couldn't help but wonder if she really felt it. I know she loves me but one cannot help but think if she does why hadn't she taken the time to write it out? Don't words have meaning? Every time I browse through Facebook and see declarations of love, hate, and happiness (misspelled of course) I can't help doubt whether they mean it. If you aren't going to spell correctly what importance does it have? Why does the internet lessen the expectations for spelling? I don't understand the difference between when writing to friends by hand and texting. When writing poetry someone can use spelling as a tool, bending words to fit their needs, in a way much like people do on the internet today. I guess the only difference is thought. Which brings me back to the most important question: does misspelling mean anything? Poets use the tool with care, a sign of thought, and we use it without thought. When people post on Facebook pages "ily" (I love you) I think they mean it but it seems as though they don't feel it. That's what the internet does-it takes the feeling out of interactions. We don't have to take the time to write out I love you on the internet because we can mean it but we can never feel it.
My 3 favorite audio clips from the Audio Video Library are:
You can check out all these clips by clicking here: voca.arizona.edu
Last week here at the Poetry Center, we hosted a camp called "Creative Writing in 3-D." One project campers did was make their own 3-D world out of a shoe box they had brought from home. Some of the materials they used were markers, paint, glitter pens, pictures from a geographic magazines, newspapers, love boxes, and construction paper. They put in their boxes secret codes, web chains, and newspaper found poems. Also, they created a story revolving around their world. They used clothespins to represent the characters in their story. They dressed the clothespins however they wanted them to look. The campers also drew their hands without looking at the paper and after they were done, they made maps out of their hands. They had a little chalk fun while they were outside. They drew an evil looking eel with sharp teeth.
To the right is an example of a camper's 3-D world made out of a shoe box. As you can see, the camper got really creative and did a very good job.
The Poetry Center will run two more camps this summer, taught by Erin Armstrong and Elizabeth Falcón, The Invention of Hugo Cabret for ages 9-12 (June 20 - 24) and Introduction to Myth-making for high school students (July 11 - 15). Visit the Poetry Center website for more details.
My name is Adam DeLuca. I am 18 years old and will be an incoming freshman at the University of Arizona this fall! I play lacrosse, hike, bike, (anything outdoors really) and enjoy being around my friends and meeting new people as well. I have to be honest though, I do not do very much reading at all. Most of my reading comes from poetry books and articles in the paper that interest me however besides Harry Potter, sustained reading isn't my thing. On the other hand art and music are a big part of my life and have greatly influenced my natural ability to write poetry. I am thrilled to be able to observe these camps and go over the poetry archives and write about the whole experience.
My name is Jamilla Grigsby. I'm 17 years old and I am a senior in high school. I have 4 brothers and 3 sisters. I've been living in Tucson, Arizona all of my life. I attend Pueblo Magnet High School. I play basketball, volleyball, and I run track. I also love writing whatever I can think about or if someone gives me a good topic. I like having a good time no matter where I am at. I love learning new things also. I also love reading short stories, poems, mystery books, reality, love, hate, and biographies. I like meeting people and trying new things in life. I'm outgoing, funny, athletic, down to earth open minded, and I have a really good personality. This summer I am working at the University of Poetry Center. And there's actually a summer camp for young children here for the first week and they're doing creative writing, poetry, a lot of activities and just learning a lot new things about poetry and writing. So a little about what I'm going to be doing is that I'm going to be shelving books, writing blogs for the webpage, filing books filled with poems, and a lot of other exciting things.
My name is Eleanor Allen-Henderson, I am thirteen years old and coming this fall I will be a freshman at University High School. I have no previous experience writing in the public sphere. I hope to share with you my passion of good literature and beautiful moments. I like hiking, summer nights, and Latin conjugations. I dislike oppression. I've been honored with a Young Authors award in 2005 for a short story. With this honor I attended the Young Authors Conference at the Jewish Community Center and met the guest poet Gary Soto.
Patricia Smith is a poet, performance artist, author, and teacher. She has published five books of poetry including Close to Death (1993), Teahouse of the Almighty (2006), and Blood Dazzler (2008) which was a finalist for the National Book Award. The winner of a Pushcart Prize, Smith is a four-time individual National Poetry Slam champion.
While Patricia Smith got her start in poetry as a slam poet, her most recent collection of poetry speaks to her ability to perform on the page as well with all the force, vibrancy, and conviction that she demonstrates at the microphone. Blood Dazzler is a sequence that explores the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, specifically focusing on the tremendous destruction and loss of life caused in New Orleans. Natural disasters and political turmoil can be difficult subjects to write about convincingly, but Smith uses the full power of direct language to engage with her reader.
The easiest way to describe Blood Dazzler is to say that it is like a slap in the face; Smith never sidesteps the fear, death, and loss that her subject is fraught with. And although she always confronts the issues head on, the most powerful weapon at work in Smith's writing is her sense of rhythm and sound that clearly come from her slam background. She describes "the slow wilting jazz of their legs / razored by the murk" and the battered people who struggle with "that first blessing--forward, forward, / not getting the joke of their paper shoes, / not knowing the sidewalks are gone." Again and again she forces us to confront the suffering of the residents of New Orleans by grabbing our attention with driving rhythms.
If you enjoyed the activities at our Young at Art Festival, or if you weren't able to make it, below are the directions to one of the poem-making activities led by UA student and teaching artist Jillian Andrews. Enjoy!