“Making a Poem Helps You Grow Up”—The WITS Year-End Readings
June 25, 2019
Because so much of the work of our Writers in the Schools program happens behind the curtain—in public school rooms and hospital rooms, in notebooks and on sheets of scrap paper, in classroom anthologies and letterpress broadsides—it’s always a remarkable moment when students take the stage at our Year End Readings.
Across two nights of elementary, middle, and high school showcases, WITS students give us a glimpse into the year’s best poems, comics, memoirs, and short stories. But they give us something more. As WITS Writers-in-Residence take the stage with their students, adjust their students’ microphones, and give us an always-memorable introduction to each young writer’s individual talents, quirks, and wisdom, we get to see something special—a glimpse into a mentor and mentee’s relationship with writing, and the growth and trust it takes to make great work happen.
This year’s readings, which took place at the Broadway Performance Hall on May 29th and 30th, can be summed up in one such introduction from WITS Writer Samar Abulhassan, as she introduced Nayeli, a fourth-grader at Laurelhurst Elementary School: “I was overjoyed to discuss the writing process with Nayeli recently, who shared with me that while parents have the obligation to protect their children, making a poem helps you grow up.”
You can take part after the fact yourself, even if you weren’t in the auditorium that week—listen to audio on our WITS Soundcloud (or, embedded above); view a gallery of images from the first and second night on Facebook; and download the WITS broadsides from younger and older students on lectures.org, as well as this collection of great comics.