Juvenile Detention Writing Workshop
In March 2005, I began to voluntarily run a poetry workshop with the teens incarcerated at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. The poetry workshop was inspired by Pongo Teen Writing and the Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop. In the Denney Poetry Workshop, we read young adult novels and memoirs with topics such as: addiction, love, romance, and teen pregnancy. We write poetry and flash fiction drawn from the youth’s life experiences.
Denney Juvenile Justice Center is lucky to have The Blanche Miller Art Exhibit Program which hires local artists to work with the teens in small group workshops. As a part of this workshop, we have published four books of the youth’s poems. Call It Courage, Please Brave Me Dry These Tears, and Because I Wanted to Be Love. These books can be viewed on our blog at www.denneypoetry.com
Other funding for the workshops has been provided by: BECU School Grants, Tulalip Tribes, and The Everett School District Foundation.
My writing work is often inspired by the youth in the detention center poetry. My young adult novel, Weaving Magic, was heavily inspired by the poetry workshop, as are the following flash fiction pieces:
“Jailbirds,” published on Sarah LaPolla’s blog, Glass Cases. Two teens are in jail. But who really committed the crime?
“Girls Unit 2W” Published in Edmond’s Community College Literary Journal, Between the Lines,(Fall 2010).
“Night Crimes”, published on Sarah LaPolla’s blog, Glass Cases Things are not always as they seem in this quick piece of fiction about a gang leader and his night-time activities.
“Directions” published on Glass Cases. How to enter the juvenile detention center flash fiction.
Published in Call It Courage, August 2006.
THE MONSTER WITHIN
Written in the YA/Memoir Poetry Workshop, June 2011
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