I Write: InsideOut

From October 3-5 I will be working hard on some new poem(s). That is not remarkable (although if I can pull off three solid nights of writing during the academic semester, it is!) What is different is that I will be writing for and in honor of InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a life-changing organization. I worked for InsideOut for 8 years as a writer-in-residence, Program Director and Managing Director, and that experience was one of the richest human experiences I’ve ever had. Indeed, it shaped me as an adult, as a person, as a writer. There I met and worked with a community of poets and writers who dedicate their lives to their art and to bringing it out into the world, to those who need it most. So, I write for Peter Markus, John Rybicki, Suzanne Scarfone, Anita Schmaltz, Matthew Olzmann, Vievee Francis, Jamaal May, Nandi Comer…and dozens of other great writers too numerous to mention here–for those who work for InsideOut now, and who’ve worked for IO in the past. I write for Terry Blackhawk, Founder and Executive Director of InsideOut, whose vision and passion are the soul and brains behind InsideOut. I write for the great city of Detroit. But mostly, I write for the children in that city. I write for the elementary schoolers whose hearts leap off their pages when they look through their “magic pencils.” I write for the middle schoolers, like those at Hutchins Middle School where I was first a Writer-in-Residence, whose words burn and glow. I write for the high schoolers, like those at Chadsey, and Kettering, and Northern, and Western, (and some of these schools aren’t even left standing since I left) who, like all teenagers everywhere–bellow great brave and sincere truths. I write for InsideOut, the great space that it provides for Detroit children to sing their hearts out in poetry. And, lastly, if you would be kind enough to sponsor me (and InsideOut), I write for YOU–and for your generosity in giving whatever you can to help InsideOut continue its mission. Please visit the IO website–look at the great work they’re doing and the many successes they’ve had, including recent visits to read their poems at the White House, among other tributes. Read their mission closely and know that by your donation, you will have played a part in sustaining it. If you make a pledge for me, let me know–so I can thank you loud and large on my Facebook page and on this blog–for your kindness and generous spirit!!

Here’s where you go to make a pledge. And ANYTHING you give will make a difference!!! Now excuse me, while I sharpen my pencils, and get ready for the Great Write Off…