Archive for Uncategorized

Saying Goodbye To The Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club

After three and a half wonderful years as a co-mentor of the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club, I have decided to move on to other projects.  As I told the kids at our last meeting, they may think that they learned a lot from me, but I probably learned more from them.  It truly has been a privilege to work with such dedicated young writers and to watch them learn and grow.  Aside from an uncountable number of writing prompts, we also took on introducing authors at the Gaithersburg Book Festival, entering some of their work in the three Emerging Voices anthologies that the Maryland Writers’ Association (sponsor of the program) published, chalk publishing, and much more, including a final group poem in which we each wrote a stanza (although please note that it was not possible to fully keep the original formatting when inserting it into this post):

This Is Why I Write

 

I write because I found a word

For wind

For breath

I found a word for green and growing things

And another word for battle smoke

I found a word

For stone

For water

For sunlight starlight moonlight

I write because I found a word for world

(stanza by Peggy Ruppel, club co-mentor)

 

I write because there are no walls

to stop my pen,

It’s my world of infinite freedom

where I can illustrate creations and fantasies

from my own mind,

and the stories can unfold

in an infinite number of ways.

(stanza by Marysol H.)

 

I write because of

All the special things in the WORLD

 

And when I write

I’m a magician

And I make magic

Out of all

 

The special things in the WORLD

(stanza by Comfort O.)

 

I write because

I believe my thoughts are

made magic through my words

because my hands can mold letters

my lips can’t.

because days I’m feeling low and

down, writing becomes

therapeutic; a microscope

to my mind that can be viewed

for a very limited time.

because I always sound like

myself on paper.

I write because

it is my fix.

(stanza by Josephine O.)

 

I write because I

see

taste

hear

smell

&

touch,

because I am

happy

sad

joyful

&

angry,

because I

think

&

feel,

& because

this is how I speak my truth.

(stanza by Lucinda Marshall, club co-mentor)

 

I write because I do

no explanations

no rules

no boundaries but mine

(stanza by Emma D.)

Many thanks to my co-mentor, Peggy Ruppel, who is also leaving the program.  We leave the club in the fine care of Henry Caballero, the new club mentor and meetings will resume in the fall.

Share

Building A Poetry-Centric Community

At our April DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading, I asked those in attendance to do a little brainstorming about places in the community where they would like to see/hear poetry.  I handed out index cards and provided a little box where they could put the cards after the reading.

As I was cleaning up, I absentmindedly put the lid on the box, threw it in my bag, and headed home.  I didn’t think about it again until later when I cleared out the bag and there was this lovely box to open, which turned out to be a gift of wonderful ideas!

I will also be posting this list on the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Facebook page. Please feel free to add more ideas in the comments or suggest ways in which we can make these ideas reality!

  1. Have a poetry contest.
  2. Have a poetry contest for kids.
  3. Display poetry in art galleries.
  4. Have readings at charity events.
  5. Televise poetry readings on local access stations and/or broadcast on local radio stations.
  6. Put featured poems/poets on flyers advertising the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and put them on community bulletin boards (Starbucks, grocery stores, etc.).
  7. Write poems on sidewalks.
  8. Put poetry on bus stops, benches, and the sides of buses.
  9. Hold poetry slams.
  10. Have cooperative writing events where poets get together and write.
  11. Have a poetry bulletin board at the Gaithersburg Book Festival where people can post poems.
  12. Connect with the English department at Montgomery County Community College.
  13. Hold a kids-oriented poetry event/reading.
  14. Hang poems/quotes from poets from lampposts.
  15. Haiku signs in flower beds (an idea that has been done in DC).
  16. A zine.
  17. Put poems on the sides of buildings.
  18. Poetry workshops at assisted living/senior centers.
  19. Have poets visit schools.
Share

Another Great Year At The Gaithersburg Book Festival

We had a great time at the Gaithersburg Book Festival this year!  So proud of the teens from the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club, which I co-mentor, for their flawless introduction of authors Meg Medina and Christine Kendall.

Lucinda Marshall and Robin Stevens Payes, photo by Pam Schipper

The creative writing workshop that I led with Robin Stevens Payes and Neal P. Gillen, who also mentor MWA teen writing clubs, was fantastic.  We had good attendance and the kids responded with great enthusiasm to the prompts that we gave them. Many thanks to Pam Schipper from the Town Courier for featuring our workshop in her coverage of GBF!

 

Share

The Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club Begins Its 3rd Year!

The Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club, which I co-facilitate,  begins its 3rd year this week.  We’ve done so many great projects in the first 2 years, and we have many more planned for this year!  Thanks to Laura Sarantis for this great new flyer:

Share

The Killing Fields Of Home

It is a most difficult task to make sense of violence, particularly when it often seems unceasing.  There have been numerous horrific acts of murder recently, and in trying to write about them, it feels important to see these events not only as individual incidents but to also make the connections between them, both in why they happen and how we process them.  The following is a poem I wrote in response to the bloody and heartbreaking first week in July, 2016.

The Killing Fields Of Home

 

On July 4th,

 

when I was trying to make sense

of the bombings in Medina and Baghdad

on the very same day that the not so United States of America

was ritually celebrating what we call independence,

with colorful bombs bursting in air,

 

it seemed really important to remember that

the children who saw real bombs were shouting not with glee

but with fear before bleeding to death,

so I wrote haikus about that,

little poems like the children who died–

 

one for Medina,

 

Bombs bursting in air,

bodies explode, people die–

no celebration

 

and one for Baghdad,

 

Car bomb in Baghdad,

the twenty five kids who died

did not like fireworks

 

and I thought I had done my duty as a poet,

but then I read that dozens of people were shot

in Chicago over the holiday weekend

for who knows what reasons and they were bleeding too

and we haven’t even caught our breath since Orlando

and it occurred to me that maybe I needed to write a longer poem,

 

then Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

were gunned down by the police

because the color of their skin was a crime

and Melissa Harris-Perry wrote about how that feels

as a suicide note that I can’t stop reading

 

on the heels of the Chilcot Inquiry that minces no words

blaming Tony Blair for lying to his country about the Iraq war

while in this country we turn endless battle into

an anthem and Bush and Cheney just smirk

 

as a veteran of war,  taught to kill in defense of our country,

shoots at the police in Dallas and more blood is spilt

and they send in a robot to take him out

which prompts Donald Trump to want a photo op with the NYPD

and I’m wondering if a sonnet is adequate

 

when my morning paper tells me that there have been

ten gang killings in ten months in the county where I live

and they have a column too about the child

of a woman who was killed by her boyfriend

 

and someone says we should all remember that

sometimes the police help and he tells a story

about a police officer who helped a lady repair her mailbox

and that was mighty nice of her, and I mean that sincerely,

but I’m thinking that sounds like a bandaid story

when we need a tourniquet because

 

a GOP Congressman says there are a lot more steps to be taken

before they will vote on gun control legislation

and I’m wondering how many steps there could really be

from his office to the floor to take a vote and when are we going to

quit playing six degrees of separation and take action

 

and in the time I have been writing this,

more people have been killed,

and I cannot type fast enough to keep up,

or even pause long enough

to  pretty up this poem that cannot find its end.

 

–Lucinda Marshall, © 2016

 

Share

Workshop: Moving Beyond Writer’s Block With Breath, Meditation, and Movement

Writer’s block is often due to issues that have nothing to do with our writing.  At a half day workshop in June, Kim Thompson and I will introduce you to some ways to free space for your words to flow, using meditation, breathing and gentle movement techniques combined with writing exercises that help us move past what is blocking the flow of words.

Moving Beyond Writer’s Block with Breath, Meditation, and Movement at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD:  June 5, 2:00-5:00 pm.  Fee: $50.    Taught with movement teacher Kim Thompson.

Can’t think of the next line?  Sometimes it is more than our minds that are blocked.  This workshop will introduce meditation, breathing and gentle movement techniques that you can utilize to get un-stuck and free space for your best writing. We will look at techniques that address stress, mind clutter, posture, how energy (and ideas!) move through our bodies, ways to unscramble our thoughts, and more. Please bring paper and pen and wear comfortable (suitable for gentle movement) clothing.

Share

Creative Writing For Teens Workshop At The Gaithersburg Book Festival

I am so excited to have the opportunity to co-facilitate a Creative Writing For Teens workshop at The 2016 Gaithersburg (MD) Book Festival  on May 21 from 4:00-5:30 at the Writer’s Center Tent:

Using participatory writing prompts, teen writers will have an opportunity to experience and learn more about how workshopping techniques can assist them in their creative writing. They will have a chance to share their work and get feedback as time allows. They will receive information about MWA’s teen writing clubs which are offered without cost at libraries throughout the state as well as other resources to further their writing.

The workshop is free and open to all teens and a great chance to find out more about the ongoing Maryland Writers’ Association’s teen writing clubs and the experience of being a writer.

Share

Great Article About The Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club

Great thanks to The (Gaithersburg) Town Courier for this great article about the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club. I think the quotes from two of our writers says it all,

Gabby Howenstein said the group met her goals “to expand my horizons in my writing, get good feedback, and hopefully make a few new friends.” In addition, she “had the opportunity to hear and read the wonderful writing of some of our other members.”

Yamini Manikoth heard about the club from Gabby, and “thought it would be interesting to see what it was like. And I think it’s one of my favorite things now, because so many people come in and talk about things of mutual interest. … So as someone who enjoys writing, hearing feedback from other people who think the same as you is one of the best feelings in the world.

Town Courier Teen Writing Article

Share

Teen Poetry Workshop At The Writer’s Center–Signup Info

I am very excited to be offering a workshop for teen poets at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD this fall.

Here is the info about the workshop:

Days: 4 Saturdays
Time: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
Dates: 10/10–11/7
Location: Bethesda
Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Young authors (ages 12-16) will learn to use workshopping techniques to fine tune, revise, edit, and present poetry. Participants will have a chance to share their work, respond to writing prompts, get feedback, and learn about publishing options. In the last session we will hold a poetry reading to share work with family and friends. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or paper notebook. If you are already writing poetry, please bring something you’ve written to the first session. No meeting October 31.

You can sign up for the workshop here.

Share

New Poem–Kaddish Season

I’m very pleased to have my poem, “Kaddish Season” in the Summer, 2015 edition of Poetica Magazine.

Poetica Summer 2015 Cover

Share