lauren michele (arrowed) wrote,
lauren michele

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LPS at the Allied Media Conference.

Wow, so it's been so long since I've posted that I didn't even begin discussing the major project of my year, which is a lil endeavor called The Live Poets Society - This is a collective of youth and community members in the South Bronx who are working on getting our voices heard, through the publication of what I like to call a "digital zine". It's a website, really, but in true zine style, it's multimedia and intent on creating an audience for dialogue. It started off being a place to publish poems, but extended to rhymes, beatmaking, video and photography from my students...

Last week, we took a trip from the Bronx to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, to present a workshop on creating this digital zine... we have created a really successful community that is youth-led and leadership-focused, and tried to harness skills that they have in order to hone in on creative careers involving media production. Some of them are poets, artists, dancers, MCs, beatminers, and some of them like to do the behind-the-scenes work to organize and put on a workshop -- but all of my students impressed the hell out of everyone they met in Detroit. We had a monumental trip that none of us will ever forget.

There are way too many highlights to list, but catch some of our photos and videos documenting the trip on the site. I was beaming with pride at the sophisticated way in which they handled themselves and showed such a curiosity and vibrancy for learning new media skills. These kids truly astound me and have far exceeded my expectations. I know that they will be successful in life, and I think that they're starting to envision the options and paths that they can take in order to live a life that they want. Just because they are not expected to succeed, just because society wants to see them remain in the ghetto in which they grew up (in gangs, in jail or 6 feet under) does not mean that they cannot fight their way out of it. It is a struggle, but it's one that I know they're prepared for and ready to take on.

Here's a Detroit poem I'm working on. It meant so much to me to be able to introduce my students to my family and my city. I know that our discussions about connecting the two cities and the roses that grow from concrete are only beginning. Much love...




the motor city's burning
and i invite you there
to sweep up the ashes
and then build a bonfire
in front of the train station.
my voodoo nation.

we will drive down woodward,
grand river, livernois,
michigan ave, wyoming,
we will be own our
construction, we will
plant roots in parks
that are still empty lots.

i see the brightest future
from the bleakest frames
on the busted fire
with the boldest flames.
don't be ashamed of
the testimony that
says we hold strong.

we grow despite concrete
overflow in our veins.
we grow through the
blizzards of soul
and sediment. we grow
from the fallow dirt
and shallow seed.

there is something
about the aftermath
of industrial loss.
the way we have to start
from nothing, and will still
find a way to prosper.
Tags: detroit live poets society
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