Poetry Month with ASM: Nurturing Creative Writing and Spoken Word

This Poetry Month we ask, what is poetry? 

Britannica.com says “Poetry is a type of literature, or artistic writing, that attempts to stir a reader’s imagination or emotions. The poet does this by carefully choosing and arranging language for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.” 

In this spirit, we celebrate some of our creative writing and spoken word programs that allow our teens to creatively express their thoughts, emotions, and opinions.   

Beyond honing their passion for the arts, participants in these programs find a sense of community and belonging. Teens build connections with their peers through writing workshops, open mics, and collaborative projects. They learn to express their thoughts and feelings through the power of language and storytelling. This helps them find their confidence and empowers them to share their work with authenticity and pride.  

Check out some of our programs creating the next generation of poets and artists: 

The Kuumba Lynx: Poetry, Activism, Theater, and Hip-Hop Program at Uplift Community High School in the Uptown neighborhood uses poetry, activism, theater, and hip-hop to empower teens to use their voices. Teens use these different creative avenues to share their unique stories and perspectives on issues impacting them and their neighborhoods.  

“The goal is to make poetry more accessible and less intimidating. It’s about challenging ourselves to think outside of the box of what poetry is,” said Jacinda Bullie, co-founder of Kuumba Lynx.  

Guitars Over Guns partners with Curie Metropolitan High School in the Archer Heights community. The program teaches teens how to create and perform their own songs and lyrics, master an instrument, and become peer mentors. Participants learn to become artists by exploring and embracing their individuality.  

Located in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, The Arab American Spoken Word and Hip-Hop Program develops young leaders by encouraging them to use spoken word, creative writing, and civic engagement to address issues in their community and world. 

As we continue to celebrate National Poetry Month, let’s encourage our young people to express themselves through written and spoken word. Let’s nurture their creativity, amplify their voices, and empower the next generation of poets and storytellers. 

If you’d like to learn more about Poetry, check out the Chicago Public Library’s Poetry Fest on April 27 for a full day of readings, workshops, and panels.