City Spotlights Spoken Word Project at Dudley Branch Library

Posted 9 May 2012 12:00 AM by Andre Sparrow, Teaching Artist

This will be the 3rd session of the City Spotlights Spoken Word Project that I participated in as a teaching artist. This session was very different from previous sessions in terms of the amount of students that participated, but it was also different in terms of what I saw when we met. The young people who participated this session grew as writers and helped me grow as a writer also.

This session brought a little more creativity and fun activities than previous sessions. Because this session took place in the spring, the weather was nice enough to go out side and take in the environment. One activity that we did was to go out side, sit on a bench in Dudley Square and observe the area. Some students took notes while some students didn’t feel they needed to. When we went back inside, they put together poems based on what they saw. Not only did they put together great poems, but they put together poems that painted the community in such a positive and ordinary light. It was refreshing to see the neighborhood so often associated with negativity, painted in such a welcoming light.

A number of the students who participated in this session also participated in previous sessions. I was happy to see their eagerness to write, but given that I had certain lessons that I had created, I had to also add some new things or adjust the lessons so that they wouldn’t get bored or feel like this was something that they had already done. This turned out to be really fun, as sometimes I’d let the students share the responsibility of leading a lesson, or I’d come up with a different example for them to see how to represent a concept discussed previously. It was great to see their continued excitement and enjoyment with the program. It made me feel like I was truly a solid teacher.

During our sharing sessions, the students created deep, cohesive and colorful poems, I on the other hand felt the poems I wrote were mediocre. I was, in a number of cases, reminded that as the teacher you must still keep your skills sharp. I was reminded that just because you are in a position of leadership doesn't mean that you don't have to demonstrate your ability. Thank you to the students who participated this session. You motivated me to get back to writing with a deep thought provoking purpose that has separated me from other writers. Have a great summer!

Joy (Spoken Word Project Participant)


What I Saw

Cars rushing fast, in blinding colors, to get somewhere

Maybe a wedding, a funeral, a friend’s house

People walking by, breathing in the wonderful warm weather

Some were smiling, some were frowning

Maybe they were thinking about cigarettes or toys

Maybe even girls and boys

There were signs on every building, advertising things and looking pretty

There were trees blocking the sun, giving us oxygen

There was a plastic bag in one tree, floating around like a sail on a ship

There were plants hidden in barrel, unnoticed by many occupied pedestrians

One brave soul zipped his motorcycle down the street

Rushing home or getting fast away from home

Many cars had their music blaring, thinking the entire world needed to hear their songs

People sat on the benches and talked, enjoying each other’s company after a hard day of life

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