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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!
The power plants are breaking
its thorns are breaking
its leaves are breaking
the plates go up and down
one plate goes on the other
one plate turns on another
(that makes an earthquake)
the salamis are going up and down
this is the ocean I'm drawing
an island that only has salt water
salt water salt water
maybe I could visit Japan
if I don't die
--Willow Falcón, age 4
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.
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.