In the wake of Amanda Gorman’s riveting performances at the Inauguration and Super Bowl LV, teens around the world are energized by the art and power of poetry to create social change. At the same time, young people remain isolated, grappling for innovative ways to connect with others as the pandemic drags on.
Write the World, the online writing platform for teens ages 13-19, offers a solution: virtual poetry workshops taught by renowned poets and educators that invite teens from over 100 countries to find, raise, use, and share their voices through a variety of poetic genres, all from the comfort of their homes. Over the course of several weekends, participants will work to create poetry they’re proud of, building towards a chance to perform at a culminating virtual reading co-hosted by the Smith College Boutelle-Day Poetry Center based in Northampton, Massachusetts.
The workshops call upon a long tradition of poetry in changemaking, from the Harlem Renaissance to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, in which young voices used the form to move and motivate, speak up and reach out. Today, as Gen Z grapples with enduring issues of equity, from environmental to racial justice, there seems no better time to pass down poetry as a tool for processing and provoking the world around us.
Teens are invited to enroll in four distinct offerings taking place over several synchronous sessions, and no prior poetry experience is required. Workshops include:
Find Your Voice:
An Introduction to Poetry with Elisabeth Sharp McKetta
MEETS June 12, 19 & 26, 2021 (11:00am-12:30pm ET)
This immersive, introductory workshop invites teens to dive into poetry; build their poetry toolboxes by exploring a range of techniques and forms; connect their work to that of poets past and present; and explore how poetry can empower writers and readers. Whether they hope to write poetry that expresses appreciation or advocacy, that sows unity, action, or accountability, or are looking to bust through writer’s block by trying something new, teens will join Elisabeth Sharp McKetta— published poet and author, TED speaker, and teacher at Harvard Extension School and Oxford Division of Continuing Education— for this exciting workshop experience.
Raise Your Voice:
Slam & Spoken Word Poetry with Phil Kaye
MEETS September 25, OCT 2 & 9, 2021 (2:00pm-3:30pm ET)
“When power corrupts, poetry cleanses,” said John F. Kennedy in a eulogy to the poet Robert Frost in 1963. Throughout history as much as today, spoken word and slam poetry have provided platforms for writers, creators, advocates, and activists to speak out about issues that matter to them. Teens will raise their voice and connect their poetry to the world through this interactive spoken word poetry workshop taught by world-renowned spoken-word artist Phil Kaye.
Use Your Voice:
Writing Poetry for the Environment
MEETS October 23, 30 & NOV 6, 2021 (11:00am-12:30pm ET)
Poetry is not only an artform but a tool. In this workshop, teens will follow in the footsteps of young Write the World authors featured in the recent environmental anthology, Writers on Earth, publicized in the New Yorker and on PRI’s podcast “The World,” by working together to pen poems that raise awareness, share appreciation, and create calls to action, combatting a warming world through the written word.
Share Your Voice:
Writing Poetry for Children
MEETS November 13 & 20, DEC 4 & 11, 2021 (11:00am-12:30pm ET)|
We all know and love esteemed children’s book authors, but have you ever wondered what it takes to become a children’s poet? In this workshop, teens will work together to explore the art of writing poetry for young people while creating “chapbooks for children,” compilations of poetry that they will share with a captive audience of elementary school readers and writers at the culmination of the program. This workshop is the perfect opportunity to both expand and deepen poetic skills while sharing those skills with others.
To learn more and register, visit Write the World’s Virtual Poetry Program.