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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.
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 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.
by Logan Phillips
We always suspected that it would be a success, but we had no idea just how successful it would be. This year, the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) went from non-existence to a monthly attendance of over 115 people. In total, over 50 poets from 10 different high schools have participated.
But more important than the numbers--either these statistics or the scores given by the judges during the slam--is the fact that for the first time a city-wide community has formed of youth interested in poetry and spoken word. During the last two slams of the season, we noticed that participants began to care a lot less about what school they were representing and a lot more about the TYPS both as an event and as a movement. The poets show a genuine will to improve not only their performance skills but also the breadth of their poetic abilities.
Here is a poem from April's winner, Enrique Garcia, 15.
by Erin Armstrong
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick is a book that I picked up last year, and I have not been able to put down. Recommended by a friend, I spent an afternoon devouring Selznick's creative narrative and exquisite drawings, and I try to pass on this beautiful book to as many readers as I can. I believe that this is one of the most innovative novels in children's literature to date. This book is told in both illustrations and words, and this combination of art forms allows for a sensory experience like never before. Follow Hugo through the streets of Paris as he discovers more about his father's old obsession with automatons, meets a young girl, Isabelle, and works for a grumpy old man in a toy booth who has secrets of his own. Once you delve into the world of Hugo Cabret, you'll find yourself enamored not only with Hugo but the drawings themselves. Selnick brings his obsession with the cinema to life and in his words, "the book itself is filled with silent movies."
This summer the Poetry Center will be exploring Hugo and his world as we do a week-long immersive camp. Students will do writing activities based on the book, which will involve stretching their imaginations and giving their creative sides a chance to soar. If Hugo and his world interest you, come explore it with us!
For more information on the book, please check out this website: http://www.theinventionofhugocabret.com.
For more information on the Hugo Cabret and other Poetry Center summer camps, visit poetry.arizona.edu/k12/summercamp.
by Julie Swarstad
Byrd 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.
On April 30th the Poetry Center will host the Young at Art Festival, celebrating Tucson youth artists and local community organizations. There will be day long activities for all ages, including plays, readings, chalk artists, musicians, puppet shows, a variety of word inspired crafts and activities including bookmaking, a poetry slam, haiku improv, and food made by Blue Banjo Barbecue served all day long!
Puppets Amongus is one of many local arts organizations performing at the Young at Art Festival. Sarah and Matt Cotten of Puppets Amongus were recently featured on Arizona Illustrated. Watch their interview below!
Attention Middle School Students! This summer, come to the Poetry Center for a week-long camp that explores creative writing from a different dimension. Three different dimensions, to be exact.
What in the world is creative writing in 3D?
Creative writing in 3D is when your words leave the traditional "page" and mix with the physical objects or world around you.
Why 3D? Simply put, it's more fun. But it also brings words to life in a more interactive way. The words take on more meaning, become deeper symbols. Associations deepen, visual intuition takes over.
We live in a visual culture. There's no reason our writing can't be visual as well.
For an idea of real life 3D creative writing projects, check out Heather Green and Katherine Larson's Ghost Net Project. Or these other WordPlay blog posts: Ann Dernier's Body Mapping, Joni Wallace's Poetry Birds and Tim Dyke's Interacting With Natasha Tretheway's Native Guard. For even more ideas, visit these writers recently published on the Trick House website: Pamela Moore, Susan Sanford, and Emily Harrison.