Young People’s Poetry Day Combines Poetry and Science

Children’s author, Joyce Sidman, c Poetry Foundation
“What Do the Trees Know?
What do the trees know?
To bend when all the wild winds blow.
Roots are deep and time is slow.
All we grasp we must let go.

What do the trees know?
Buds can weather ice and snow.
Dark gives way to sunlight’s glow.
Strength and stillness help us grow.”

© Joyce Sidman, Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold [a free read if you have Amazon Unlimited]



The Poetry Foundation will open its doors to the youngest poetry lovers for Young People’s Poetry Day on Saturday, April 20, 10:00 AM–1:00 PM with the theme “Poetry and Science.” This annual free event features a reading by acclaimed poet and children’s author Joyce Sidman, animal odes with the Field Museum, a poetry scavenger hunt, fun crafts, writing activities, and refreshments in one of the only buildings in the world dedicated to poetry.

“Poetry and science are a natural fit, especially for young children who are already so curious and excited to learn.” says Katherine Litwin, Poetry Foundation library director. “We are celebrating that curiosity this year by providing an environment where budding poets and scientists can experiment with language.”

Special guest Joyce Sidman is the author of sixteen books of poetry for children, including Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, a 2011 Newberry Honor Book. Her most recent book, The Girl Who Drew Butterflies, was named one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2018; it details the life of Maria Sibylla Merian, the 17th century artist who uncovered the mysteries of metamorphosis in butterflies.

“Why read children poems about worms and beetles?” asks Sidman. “Because we—and the children we care about—need the space to pause, stretch out our arms, and touch the world. In handling its lovely mysteries, we learn from them and about ourselves.”

Please note, this event is open only to children and their accompanying caregivers

Young People’s Poetry Day: Poetry & Science
Saturday, April 20, 2019
10:00 AM–1:00 PM
Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60654

This feature is courtesy of The Poetry Foundation.


JOYCE SIDMAN “is known for her fresh, inventive poetry for children. Her award-winning books include Dark Emperor (A Newbery Honor Book), Song of the Water Boatman and Red Sings from Treetops (both Caldecott Honor Books), Butterfly Eyes (Cybils Award), and This Is Just to Say (Claudia Lewis Poetry Award). A recent starred review in School Library Journal said, “Sidman’s ear is keen, capturing many voices. Her skill as a poet accessible to young people is unmatched.” Born in Connecticut, Joyce now lives in Minnesota. Her Amazon page is HERE.

Joyce’s website includes free classroom guides for teachers. She says, “My mission is to foster poetry and science in the classroom.”


About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.
Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at facebook.com/poetryfoundation,  Twitter @PoetryFound and @Poetrymagazine, and Instagram @PoetryFoundation.


ABOUT

The Poetry Foundation winners of the 2018 Poetry Incubator Seed Grants.

“When you’re a student of poetry, you’re lucky if you don’t realize how untalented you are until you get a little better. Otherwise, you would just stop.” Tony Hoagland in Ploughshares



The Poetry Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2018 Poetry Incubator Seed Grants. The $2,000 grants are made possible by the Mellon Foundation and are awarded annually to two members of the Poetry Incubator cohort for their community works initiatives. This year’s winners are Victor Jackson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Ashley Mack-Jackson of Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Victor and Ashley are poets whose creative work is nurtured by and in service to their communities. It is incredible to witness the passion that they bring to their own creative work and to giving back,” says Ydalmi Noriega, Community and Foundation Relations Director. “We are grateful to be able to provide seed grants for their projects that will help them grow as poets and organizers, continuing to bring a spirit of service and collaboration wherever they go.”

Nine of the 24 Incubator Fellows submitted grant proposals. Unlike other grant programs, which require applicants to submit to an outside committee, the seed grant recipients are selected by and accountable to their peers, the other Fellows. This year’s winners were chosen for the strength of their commitment to their home communities, clear goals, and actionable visions.

Victor Jackson’s OURchive is a two-part archival initiative, seeking to empower Philadelphia through the idea that​ all people deserve to be valued and protected regardless of talent, class, belief, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability​. OURchive will begin with gathering a community-based space in in Uncle Bobbie’s Cafe and Bookstore, nicknamed “People’s Sanctuary,” then grow into a digital archive hosting art, literature, and journalism around social justice, social reform, and the survival of oppressive systems. The digital archive will be a resource both for those in Philadelphia and worldwide who want to better understand the city’s cultural contributions and history.

Ashley Mack-Jackson’s extension of Indianapolis’s Word As Bond builds on a resource already available in her community by developing a paid internship program. Word As Bond has provided free creative writing training to Indianapolis youth since 2013. Mack-Jackson’s project increases the program’s offerings in summertime, when many young people who would otherwise avail themselves of Word’s resources have to work. The Word As Bond Summer Internship Program offers an alternative to typical seasonal employment, giving interns the opportunity to grow their creative practice with compensation for that labor. This internship not only helps young poets grow as artists, but understand the value of their work.

The Poetry Incubator, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and Crescendo Literary, brings emerging poets from across the United States to Chicago to spend three days learning from esteemed poetry faculty about how to enhance their craft while proactively serving their home communities with art. There is no fee to apply to or attend, and Fellows have the option to stay in university housing free of charge. The program culminates with the Chicago Poetry Block Party, a celebration of poetry, music, and art.

Applications for the 2019 Incubator will be released in 2019.


The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, visit poetryfoundation.org.


ABOUT

Testimonials

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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

 

POETRY BLOCK PARTY: Heads-up Chicago … this sounds like fun …

“Well, write poetry for God’s sake. It’s the only thing that matters.” e.e. commings



This sounds like something worthy of imitation.

On Saturday, July 28, the Poetry Foundation, Crescendo Literary, and the Austin Town Hall host the 3rd annual Chicago Poetry Block Party. Between 3:00 and 8:00 PM at Austin Town Hall (5620 W. Lake Street), guests of all ages can join in the fun. Poetry, creativity, and literature come alive with writing workshops, visual art activities, poetry readings, games, and musical performances.

The Chicago Poetry Block Party features musical performances from Tasha, Brandon Markell Holmes, avery r. young, and the CPBP House Band. Award-winning poet Danez Smith and other poets from across the U.S. will perform their work. An open mic will allow a chance for participants to take the stage.

The Chicago Poetry Block Party is the culmination of a three-day-long poetry Incubator held July 25-27, presented by the Poetry Foundation and Crescendo Literary. Through workshops and talks, the Incubator brings together a large group of emerging poets from around the country who engage with community through their poetry. Faculty Tyehimba Jess and Kay Ulanday Barrett share their expertise, teaching Incubator poet participants to enhance their practices and community work.

“The Chicago Poetry Block Party brings poetry onto the streets every summer. It’s a great place to experience the immediacy and vibrancy of the art form, and it’s why the festival is a perfect collaboration for the Poetry Foundation,” said Henry Bienen, President of the Poetry Foundation. “This event creates a space for connection between poets, artists, and families to celebrate and create together.”

Eve Ewing, Director of Crescendo Literary, says, “We’re so excited to host the Chicago Poetry Block Party on the West Side this year. As always, our goal is to have a poetry event that’s open to everyone– hardcore poetry lovers as well as people who just want to enjoy a fun Chicago festival. We’ve worked hard to offer something for everyone.”

Tebrena Howard, Supervisor of the Austin Town Hall, added, “We’re excited to be hosting this party in Austin. There is a vibrant community of artists and poets already here and partnering with these organizations adds loft and scope to these voices.”


About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.


About Crescendo Literary
A collaboration between poets Eve Ewing and Nate Marshall, Crescendo Literary creates and curates events, works of art, and educational resources grounded in the belief that 1) artists can, should, and must be accountable to the communities from which they emerge, and 2) communities, in turn, are strengthened by the meaningful presence of excellent art. For more information, please visit crescendoliterary.com.


About Austin Town Hall
Located in the Austin community, Austin Town Hall Park and Cultural Center is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and covers 3.17 acres. The park features a field house with an indoor swimming pool, two kitchens, a gymnasium, a performance theater/auditorium and a fitness center. Outside, the park offers a basketball court and children’s playground.

Majestic in design, the Austin Town Hall Park and Cultural Center was once the town hall of the Village of Cicero, Illinois. Today, the space is used for park activities including a variety of dance, music and theater classes, music production and more.


ABOUT

Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and  California Woman.

CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (23): Gwendolyn Brooks, Journalist, Poet, Living in the along …

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“Live not for Battles Won.
Live not for The-End-of-the-Song.
Live in the along.”
Report from Part One

There is so much about Gwendolyn Brooks and her work that is remarkable and goes beyond the awards and acknowledgements, though these are many and prestigious and often firsts for her gender and race.

In 1968 Gwendolyn Brooks was named Poet Laureate of Illinois. In 1985, she was the first Black woman appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, known then as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts Award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas, but within a few weeks of her birth her family moved to Chicago, Illinois, her true roots and the source material for her poetry. She lived in Chicago until her death in December 2000. According to the family and friends who surrounded her at the end, she died as she lived with pencil in hand.

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“But in the crowding darkness not a word did they say.
Though the pretty-coated birds had piped so lightly all the day.
And he had seen the lovers in the little side streets.
And she had heard the morning stories clogged with sweets.
It was quite a time for loving. It was midnight. It was May.
But in the crowding darknesss not a word did they say.”
Old Marrieds

Gwendolyn’s first poem was published in a children’s magazine when she was thirteen years old. By the time she was sixteen 75 poems were published. Her first collection, A Street In Bronzville, was published in 1945. She never completed college because she saw herself as a poet and not a scholar. Maybe this is one reason why her poetry is so unselfconscious and down-to-earth.  There’s no posturing. It’s real and readable.  She experimented with many poetic forms and is known for her innovations to the sonnet. She seems to have invented a few forms of her own. Though her subject matter is serious and always compassionate and practical, often compellingly spiritual, she can – and often is – funny, even Suessian on occasion.

In writing of a particular time, place and people – as a journalist poet (a phrase she coined) – she not only chronicled the soul and lives of a people, she captured the essence of the eternals – the follies, the challenges, the good, the loving and the enduring – in the human condition, in the human soul … “To be in love,” she wrote, “is to touch things with a lighter hand.”

Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold it will not come
Again in this identical disguise.
Annie Allen

Was she a student of Eastern mystics or Meister Eckhart? I rather doubt it. What we have here is a good woman writing from the perspective of her own sacred space, her refined intelligence and her acute observation and imagination. She certainly also writes out of the deep love she has for her people, the exploration of the complexities of being Black in America, and her rootedness and familiarity with the South Side of Chicago. I unreservedly recommend Gwendolyn Brooks for the sheer pleasure of her poetry, for some more understanding of the Black experience in America if you are not Black, for a connection with your roots if you are Black, for your understanding of your own soul and for your education as a poet.  If you haven’t met her yet, do so as soon as you can. A good place to start is with The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks from the American Poetry Project. It has a fine introduction by Elizabeth Alexander.

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John, Who Is Poor
Give him a berry, boys, when you may
And, girls, some mint when you can
And do not ask when his hunger will end
Nor yet when it began
(From Bronzeville Boys and Girls, 1956)

Library_Walk_23

We Real Cool

“We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.”

― Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks, Journalist Poet, reads We Real Cool (If you are viewing this post from an email, you’ll likely have to link through to the site to see it.)

“She was learning to love moments. To love moments for themselves.”
Gwendolyn Brooks

© 2016, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; poems, Gwendolyn Brooks  estate; photograph of “Winnie” stone is in the public domain