The Kids Are Alright!
So here it is! The promised report-back from the 2008 Roxbury Literary Annual Reception Reception last week.
As Jaclyn and I walked in the Boston Globe’s very swanky offices in Dorchester I was reminded of just how nerve-wracking and exciting it must be to be fifteen and have your work recognized by your community (something that many writers only get to dream about).
And let me tell you, the kids were kickin’—their stage presence, their confidence, their WORDS (full of anger, sorrow, love, and hope) were a sight to behold. One thing’s for sure, these young artists did not hold anything back. When asked about their experiences writing and working with the established poets, fiction writers, performance experts, editors, and all of the other folks that put the 2008 Roxbury Literary Annual together and ran the 2008 Roxbury Literary Annual Creative Camp (an extension of the Literary Annual that takes 25 youth from public, private, charter, and METCO schools around Boston and helps them refine and explore their writing skills), the young writers responses were grateful but real. One young woman said that it was great to get so much attention from adults for her writing but she wished that people were doing more than just listening. She wished more adults were actually asking youth what support they need to succeed while helping them to figure out how to get that support. Instead, she said, people just focus on what youth are doing wrong. This point was made even more powerful when someone in the audience pointed out that we see youth violence in the headlines everyday and yet no one from the media (not even from the Boston Globe, the hosting institution) was present to cover an event that celebrated the accomplishments of youth who choose words over weapons.
Afterwards, I chatted up the young writers and invited them to our hot open mic, Mouthful (tonight! sign up to read at 7:15 and start at 7:30). I hope they show up!