A few select language arts classes at schools throughout the city have had the pleasure this past school year to work with professional local writers. The program is called Writers in the Schools or WITS and it is twelve years old but the inspiration it provides to students is new each day. As you can guess I am one of the lucky students that was visited by a writer once a week.
The writer that came to my class at Garfield High School was Daemond Arrindell who would lead us though writing and poetry exercises. Some writing prompts were more interesting than others, but they always offered a break from our regular classwork. Through Daemond I also learned about slam poetry, which is when a person writes and memorizes a poem and then performs it dramatically at competitions called poetry slams. While I personally am not interested in becoming a slam poet I am glad I was able to watch other teen poets in the film Louder Than a Bomb since I now have a greater appreciation for poetry.
The WITS program also gave me an opportunity to visit the Gauguin exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum or SAM. I was able to go to the museum during first period, take a tour of the exhibit led by a local writer, and then write poems and stories inspired by the pieces. I had learned a little about Gauguin in French class and knew he was a French Impressionist that focused on Polynesia. I’m not an avid art fan but I have some appreciation for artwork and the writing that we did helped me get more into the feeling of the art and have a better understanding. Later my poem that was inspired by the wood carving Offerings of Gratitude was chosen and I was asked to read it at Teen Night Out at SAM. It read as follows:
Offerings of Gratitude
Offerings of Gratitude are the cloyingly sweet smell of burning flowers
they sound like a haunting woodwind melody
offerings feel pure and untarnished
the atmosphere has a sense of balance with nature
I think that WITS is a great program that helps students get more interested in writing. If you are a student that is interested in writing I recommend trying to get one of the writers to come to your school next year. The library will host a WITS event on May 22 and 23, with student readings and cupcakes.
–Rebecca, 16, Teen Center Advisor