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  • January 30th, 2009 | 12:07 AM
Poetry Friday - Incarcerated Teens Group Poem

I recently completed teaching a series of seven sessions in a poetry workshop for incarcerated teens and on the last day they spent nearly an houring writing the following group poem. Though I posted it in my blog post on Wednesday when I talked about the session, I wanted to post it again today as it really touched my heart.

has a beautiful life to it.

You sound like happiness, sadness, love
taste like fresh strawberries
and feel like soft skin, sandpaper, a brick wall.

Poetry is all the colors of the rainbow
and smells like freedom, incarceration, a sexy girl.

Oh poetry, you drive me crazy.

You make me want to scream, to feel, to heal.

You look like sunshine and moonlight in the city.

Poetry is feelings on paper.

The round-up today is at Adventures in Daily Living.

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 17 comments — Leave comment )
January 30th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
February 2nd, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
Thanks, Meg.
January 30th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)

I love that poem.


I missed it the first time. Thank you for posting it again.
February 2nd, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
You're welcome, Carrie.
January 30th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
This just slays me, Susan. Because it really is all that. Isn't it?
February 2nd, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
I agree. It really captures it all. It's going to be the centerpiece of the display I'm doing of their work for the museum.
January 30th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, poetry you drive me crazy! All the good stuff does. Thanks for sharing everything, including this poem, with us.
February 2nd, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading along, and for supporting the project.
January 30th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
That was wonderful....really great. I think it's great that you did that with them. My daughter loves poetry....but her reading comprehension is not the best...I'm trying to come up with a poet that would suit her age for next year's reading list (for English course- we homeschool) that will not overwhelm her but really introduce her to a better quality of poetry than say Shel Silverstein.... I'm thinking my buddies Robert Frost and Emily Dickenson isn't quite the thing just yet....
I just wondered if you would have any thoughts...
February 2nd, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
Thank you. How old is your daughter? What reading level would you say she's at? If you give me some parameters I'd be happpy to offer some suggestions.
February 2nd, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
Well she is 13 (14 in April) and will be in 9th grade next year which is what I am planning for. I would say her reading level is approximate 7th grade level...possibly higher now... she is just now showing an interest in reading more difficult books...her latest trends have been the princess diary books, James Pattersons YA (maximum ride) so I think it is improving...and she has such an interest in poetry...I just am afraid of what to pick because I don't want it to be more complex than what she can understand and then cause her to lose her interest...you know what I mean?
January 30th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Yes! I work with teens at a local non-profit. Some members of my group are residents in our shelter. I relate to your work and your writers' words. Thanks for posting this.

February 2nd, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading along. Good luck with your own hard work.
January 31st, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
All I can say is WOW!
You taught them well. What a wonderful poem!
Kelly Polark
February 2nd, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
Thank you.
February 1st, 2009 06:49 am (UTC)
You are an Angel
What a beautiful gift you have given these teens, and from the poem it is wonderfully obvious how much the kids absorbed, healed, loved.

The poem is a fantastic tribute to their feelings and your generosity.
February 2nd, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
Re: You are an Angel
Thanks so much. It was quite a struggle to get them to do any work at all but I couldn't have been happier with how it all came together in the end.
( 17 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
--Bonnie Friedman

"As writers, we must be willing to feel our sadness, our anger, our terror, so we can reach in and find our sweet vulnerability that is just sitting there waiting for us to come back home."
--Nancy Slonim Aronie

"Writers write about what obsesses them. You draw those cards. I lost my mother when I was 14. My daughter died at the age of 6. I lost my faith as a Catholic. When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is."
--Anne Rice


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