As a poet-in-the-schools, a high school teacher of 35 years, a writer of 2 books on teaching writing, and a coordinator of writer/artist school visits, I value highly what InsideOut brings to the Detroit students. I donate yearly, buy the schools' anthologies to use in the schools where I work, and have just today watched two InsideOut writers in three classes (grades 3, 10, and 11, including a social studies class). Classroom teachers and students alike find the act of writing becomes genuinely engaging, as live and lively writers lead them through writing experiences that open their imaginations, develop their pleasure in language, and above all help them believe in themselves and in one another as individuals with the right to make their own artistic choices. Teachers see all these strengths can be transferred to the writing of expository, critical, and personal essays.Students who care about writing are more likely, also, to become reflective, appreciative readers--to "read as writers." Every child deserves the experiences offered by a strong writers-in-the-schools program like InsideOut.
As a professional writer and former educator and business owner, I was impressed with the fire and commitment to the InsideOut Literary Arts Project displayed by the Founder and Executive Director, Terry Blackhawk. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Since then, I have become a donor to this critical project that can change children's lives as they discover their creative selves and speak out. I have read and been moved by the work of these children. I have met the artists who teach and give their deepest selves to keep this program alive and growing. Detroit needs such voices, such belief and such commitment to succeed.
I was a writer-in-residence for InsideOut. It was a wonderful experience, broadening the depth of my experience with young readers/writers. In addition, the children are so eager to embrace the written word. I look forward to working with InsideOut in the future. Kudos to Dr. Blackhawk and the entire staff!
I'm on the faculty of a state university, and became aware of Inside Out through alumni work. I am astonished at what Inside Out does, and wish that all of my incoming freshmen could've had the kind of experience that Inside Out provides. The program (1) teaches students to love words, ideas, and creative expression by encouraging them to work and play with words, ideas, and images (rather than merely receive words and images passively), and (2) by publishing their work, teaches students that their thoughts are important and worthy of consideration, and that they have a contribution to make to their community, to literature, and to society as a whole. Inside Out, then, jumpstarts both intellectual and civic engagement. Three cheers!
The creativity and quality shining through the poems written by students in the Inside Out program are a true inspiration to writers of all ages. Here is an idea that really works. Congratulations to all who participate in this fruitful effort.
I truly love this organization, the instructors who help teach students poetry and the professions who sometimes take time out to do a workshop with the students. I have been a member for this organization. I was embarrassed when I joined because I was the only freshman. Fortunately throughout time becoming a poet, your writing technique and stage presence gets stronger throughout the years. I am currently a nursing major at Eastern Michigan University. Although I don't perform poetry as much as I use to I feel no other poetry organization is better than InsideOut Citywide Poets. Maybe one year I will join the poetry society here. I continue to write when I can and have take a creative writing course and this semester Literature 102 where we evaluate different pieces of poetry throughout time. Ever since InsideOut, I don't think I would ever stop writing poetry. Performing is a bit more of a challenge but I learned a lot of techniques to get me prepared to perform in front of an audience. I love this organization and I hope that they will continue for many years to come so that children and teens have a chance to be apart of something unique and express their talent, feelings, creativity and poetry.
Last summer I attended a 2-day writing seminar for educators, A Neon Color Calls Me. We did some great writing for such a brief time period! Not only that, but the writing was integrated with fine arts, which I learned was called Ekphrastic Poetry. As an educator, I was thrilled to find professional development that also served my personal development as a writer. Plus, I got some great lessons to use with my students.