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Introducing Guest High School Blogger Jamilla Laquisha Grigsby

Jamilla GrigsbyMy 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.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Introducing Guest High School Blogger Eleanor Allen-Henderson

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.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

World of Words: A homophonic poetry activity for all ages

Jillian AndrewsIf 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!

Materials

  • Blank paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Poems in various languages
  • English translation of each poem

Preparation

  • Print 4-5 poems in various languages.  Unfamiliar languages are best, in order to make sure the translation is completely based on sound, and not on previous knowledge of the language
  • Set out the materials and an example of your own "postcard poem"
  • You can choose to print world maps to have the kids guess where in the world their poem was written.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Celebrating the Desert with Byrd Baylor: A Retrospective

by Julie Swarstad

Byrd Baylor, When Clay SingsByrd Baylor is the author of more than twenty books of children's poetry.  Her writing primarily focuses on the places and people of the Southwestern United States.  Four of her books--When Clay Sings (1973), The Desert is Theirs (1976), Hawk, I'm Your Brother (1977), and The Way to Start a Day (1979)--have been recognized as Caldecott Honor Books.  Baylor is a resident of Arivaca.

Byrd Baylor will be signing books at the Poetry Center's Young at Art Festival on April 30th following a performance of Baylor's Desert Voices presented by University of Arizona's Stories on Stage.

Byrd Baylor is one of the most ubiquitous names in Southwestern children's literature.  Baylor's stories are told in free verse that moves quietly forward, celebrating the desert and calling for her readers to spend more time listening to and appreciating the world that surrounds them.  Baylor's publications span a period of over forty years, but the constant throughout her entire career is this sense of a deep and abiding connection to the desert.

Baylor's earliest available publication is Amigo (1963), a surprisingly sweet story of boy and prairie dog who befriend one another told in a sing-song rhyme.  Although Amigo is very different from Baylor's usual style, Baylor's story is simple and fun.  After Amigo, Baylor published several other books (Coyote Cry and Before You Came This Way) before publishing When Clay Sings with illustrations by Tom Bahti in 1972.  Baylor's text--now the free verse that she would continue to write in throughout her career--uses designs from native Southwestern pottery as a point of departure for imagined stories about the people who may have created the images.  Tom Bahti's illustrations were recognized with a Caldecott Honor Medal, but the book deals with the artwork at a very surface level, taking the figures as they are and weaving a little story out of them.  It's worth reading, but readers may find the work a bit dated in its approach.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Sixth-Grader Speaks: Self-publishing on Lulu

What I needed, one year ago, was an easy way to put get my poems into collection form, an easy way to "publish" my poems. And Lulu was definitely that.

At that time, I was visiting my grandmother in Montana, and was having great fun, and I wanted to get my poems "published" but I really didn't want to waste time that I could be spending otherwise (since I was of course, on vacation). But it turned out to be really enjoyable, and a short process. You fill out your form, attach a document, choose the style you want it to be published in (spiral bound, hard cover, etc.), and then get to the more creative aspects, from choosing your cover to picking out your font styles.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If the Mango Tree Could Speak: Inviting Collaboration

Collaborative Poetry can push an experience and build group cohesiveness, validate feelings and foster confidence with words. My first experience facilitating a collaborative poem remains a model for my other forays into group writing.

In 2000, I was working with an inter-generational group of refugees from Central America in the Owl and Panther Program, a partnership of The Hopi Foundation and the Pima County Public Library. We started the workshop by viewing the poignant film If the Mango Tree Could Speak. The film documented youth who couldn't flee the violence in Guatemala and El Salvador as the families in this workshop had. We watched and listened as the youth in the film shared what they experienced and witnessed.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fried Water, Putty Fours: A double review of Marjorie Winslow's "A Cookbook for Dolls"

Baby Doll with ButtonsPart I: A review of Marjorie Winslow's Mudpies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls
by Emberly Davis

This book has been rated nine stars out of ten.

Emberly Davis is a 4th grader at Drachman Elementary and enjoys cooking, writing, reading, acting, swimming, and building parachutes for eggs.

If you like dolls and like feeding your dolls and if you like cooking, baking, or boiling you would like this book. There are so many recipes. My favorites are: Fried Water, Mock Mud Puddle Soup, and Pencil Sharpener Pudding. I like this book because it is very imaginative and very nice--not violent at all. What you'll need to read this book: a good imagination, stuffed animals or dolls, some sand, some water, pebbles, leaves, and other little trinkets. Possibly a tea set for dolls. So when you read this book, I think you'll like it. If you like dolls.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Body Mapping

handsby Ann Dernier

Asked to lead a Kore Press Grrls Literary Activism Workshop, I saw myself as "activator" charged with bringing poetry to and coaxing it out of the lives of teen girls ages 14-19 while guiding them on their own path to activism in a public setting. But mainly and not so secretly, I began every workshop with poetry while on our journey to the center of our social justice issues.

We started by "waxing poetic"--a printing process using wax paper and newsprint.  The girls chose random words or phrases from the newspaper, (or even with an eye for random invention), and rubbed them onto the wax paper, and then "reprinted" by rubbing them in the same or new order onto white paper.  You couldn't rub them the wrong way! In the end, the girls had "found" poems with unexpected, activated language such as "A day ripe for Cadillac opportunity."

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Thursday, April 29, 2010
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