As you know, we’ve been highlighting two things we’re excited about from this past year ever Friday in December, right here on this very blog. Ready? Let’s go!
1. POETRY IN THE BUSES!
In addition to being one of our favorite people, Scott Beal is one of our favorite workshop leaders. So when the people at the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority approached us about putting our students’ poetry up in their buses, he was the first person who came to mind. He led a creative, innovative two-week workshop in which students rode the bus and then wrote about their experiences. From a purple monster to the sky on the Fourth of July to a plane taking off, the poems that the students wrote were filled with revelations, both simple and complex, about riding the bus.
On January 14, students who participated in the Poets on the Bus Go Line by Line get to go to AATA headquarters, and actually go through the Bus Wash, which is exactly what it sounds like. This will be the kickoff to their poems appearing in the buses.
Want a taste of the work that will be posted? Here’s a wee bit, from Francesca L:
If you are very interested
in the cold metal bus stairs,
you will find two odd little rows
of pure orange light.
With all of the energy and warmth of a tiny tea light,
the clear happy glow of a row of sequins,
and the excitement and protection of runway lights
as your plane touches down,
these bright benevolent strips,
casting a cheerful illumination
on near-by chairs,
guide the way to comfy, cozy seats
and relief from the hectic day.
And this, from Kylie PS:
Saffron lights gleam brilliant & bright, highlight edge of stairs.
Eyes must squint to see them.
Lend their color to woman’s brown shoe, turning black leather gold.
Dazzle my eyes, strips of light break off in stars, elongate as I
squint, reaching up over my leg, beams abruptly disappear when
their source is covered. The plastic cover is illuminated by
Saffron lights, gleam brilliant,
Highlight the edge of a stair.
Lending color to a woman’s leather shoe,
As black leather turns to gold.
My eyes are dazzled
Look for the poems in almost seventy AATA buses through the end of March!
2. OZONE HOUSE!
Ozone House is a community-based nonprofit agency in Washtenaw County that is dedicated to providing safety, emergency shelter, transitional housing and a continuum of support services to runaway, homeless and at-risk youth in our community. They seemed like a natural partnership for us this year, and they have been!
This summer, intern Rachel Lieberman went in weekly to work with the teens there on a project which became In the Zone, a zine filled with stories, poems, and ruminations on their community.
Students admire their work.
We’ve continued our work there with monthly writing workshops led by a rotating cast of our incredible volunteer force.
You can pick up your copy of In the Zone in our store!
It’s easy to get sentimental this time of year, so let us just say: thanks for all your love, support, encouragement, and inspiration this year!