Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Urban Haiku: Dream Keepers is BACK!

Dream Keepers is Back!
Dream Keepers has been on hiatus for the past six weeks. In that time, I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about what I want Dream Keepers to look like this year and in our future. I've become enchanted by the Young Writer's Project in Vermont and New Hampshire. Founder Geoff Gevalt started the project in his free time while working as a managing editor for The Burlington Free Press. In the beginning and still today, students from all over the two states write and submit in response to scheduled writing prompts. The submissions are then judged and the best are submitted to local newspapers for publication. 

For a long time, I have wanted my work with Dream Keepers to connect with the work teachers are doing in the classroom, students are doing online, and writers-in-residence are doing in schools. To that end, we're going to try adding writing contests this year. WInners will be published at the Dream Keepers blog. 

I'll still be doing an in-person gig—so if you are a student in grades 3-6—feel free to come to our program on Wednesdays from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at All People's Church. Students will spend part of their time writing, part of it gardening, and part of it with Stepping Stones, a tutoring program. Register ahead of time by emailing me (rochelle@writenowcoach.com).

September-October Contest: Urban Haiku
Two weeks ago, I came across a story in The Guardian about a poet who took his poetry to the streets of Atlanta. Artist John Morse wrote haiku poetry using found phrases from ads. Here are two examples:

Build Personal Wealth!
In the Comfort of Your home!
Read to your children.

Lose ugly weight fast!
Feel Happier! Healthier!
Dump your bigotry.

Great stuff, eh? Morse's Haiku poems have great surprise endings. Even better, they make the reader think. Morse wrote ten of these haiku poems, made fifty copies of each, and posted them all over Atlanta. Now the citizens of Atlanta see poetry everywhere. And Morse's poems must give them a lot to think about!

Your assignment, Dream Keepers, is to write an Urban Haiku poem using at least one found phrase from a sign, billboard, or other advertisement that you see in public. Use the traditional Haiku form of 5-7-5 syllables or do what Haiku teacher Patricia Donegan suggests: write three lines that you can say in one breath. Choose words that help your readers see what you are describing.

The assignment is open to Wisconsin students K4-12th grade. Each student can submit up to five haiku poems. Poems must be submitted in an email document (no attachments, please) via email to rochelle@writenowcoach.com by midnight on October 8, 2010. Winners poems and names will be published on the Dream Keepers blog by the end of October. 

And keep an eye on this space. We'll have a new writing assignment coming for you in early October!

Happy writing!