Workshop Series #6: Renaming
If we can’t first tell the truth on the page, then where can we?
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When Anna or Xero taught, I wrote. Dr. Anna West & Xero Skidmore taught me the teaching poet version of my first steps, my first words, my first pedals on a bike. Under their warmth and skill, I was a devoted student of the writing circle. 2009, 2010, 2011 — I almost exclusively wrote and never taught. It was a gift I didn’t know to cherish at the time. To be guided into a poem by the hand of a skilled and committed elder (or, Slam-pa or Slam-ma as we sometimes call them).
At 19, when I started in youth spoken word at WordPlay, Anna was my boss, and Xero was my mentor. 5 days a week, I would sit in the back of a classroom while Xero taught a writing workshop. Today, I’m going to show you one of the poems I saw him teach dozens of times and a poem I’ve written after just as many times. It’s from the original WordPlay Teen Writing Project curriculum from 2007. I’m also going to show you a kickass & gut wrenching Facebook post from Sam Sax – and then we’ll write some poems.
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