Archive for March 21st, 2021

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Last week, Leigh Anne Eck sent an invitation to respond to a prompt, a party invitation, in which every participant leaves a quick-write bio patterned after Devon Gundry from Soul Pancake. Read more about the party invitation here.

Depending on when you met me, I would have been walking hand in hand with a black girl, my friend, because my parents never said that wasn’t ok, or I was playing in the woods becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder or jumping on the trampoline or into the swimming pool; you may have met a teenage educator wanting to change the world one kid at a time, or a girl writing daily in a diary, a young mother who learned to smock and sew in that order, a working mother driving in early dawn away from her family to teach 3rd graders. Depending on when you met me, you may have met a graduate student, a National Boards candidate, but if you met me today, you’d see MaMère in my eyes, falling in love all over again with babies and art.

As an Artist by Margaret

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

I was first introduced to Poetic Justice by Sarah Donovan at her site Ethical ELA in July, 2020.

Poetic Justice offers restorative writing and creative arts programs to women who are incarcerated. Since 2014, they have been offering classes in jails and detention facilities that engage in self-reflective, therapeutic writing: “By using poetry, women who have never written in their lives find the confidence to write from their hearts.” (They were featured on CNN Heroes.)

Sarah Donovan, Ethical ELA

Because of the pandemic, Poetic Justice could no longer go into prisons and teach the writing workshops, but that didn’t stop them. Now they have more than 150 inmates and volunteers writing poetry and letters to each other. I volunteered to be a writing partner and am now in my third round of writing.

I believe in the power of poetry to heal. My writing partner, Kwain, has solidified that belief for me in the 8 months that we have been writing to each other. As with any deeply personal project, it has taken a while for her to trust me with her writing. I feel it is a privilege to receive it. This month we exchanged I am From poems.

I am From

I am from the homemade Jalapeño skillet cornbread
with pig intestines known as chitlins.
I am from the Dominoes playing as
the adults yell out foul words
as the odor of cigarettes corrupt the air of the room.
I am from Earth, Wind, and Fire, R Kelly and soul music.
I am from the state flower BlueBonnet,
Texas Longhorn. 
I am from the small church known as Immanuel Baptist Church
where I got saved when I was 9 years old. 
I am from a fatherless home.
I am from being Independent is a must
because all I had was my mom.
I am from “Everything is bigger”.
I am from Amarillo, Texas.

Kwain Monroe

The writing I receive from Kwain comes as scans of notebook pages. I write to her through a paid service (30 cents per letter).

If you are interested in this project, consider a donation. $25 can sponsor one inmate’s participation and supplies. Poetic Justice website.

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