Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Writing Poetry with Youth In Juvenile Detention

on April 20, 2007

It’s National Poetry month which gives me an “in” to blog about facilitating a poetry workshop with youth in juvenile detention.

Once a week, I spend two hours writing and sharing poetry with youth who are in jail. During that two hours, I spend an hour with a unit of girls–usually about 10-12 girls. And a unit of boys–usually about 10-12 boys. In that hour we write poems about our life experiences.

Last spring, The Miller Trust hired me to be a writer/mentor to individual kids. The Miller Trust also published the youth’s poetry in a collection called, Call it Courage.

I’ve posted a couple of the poems and I’m going to let the kids speak for themselves about the power of this work. Although, I originally started running the poetry workshop as a “trial” basis, it quickly became the most important work that I do as a writer.

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2 responses to “Writing Poetry with Youth In Juvenile Detention

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these poems, Mindy! I hope you have an opportunity to let the poets who wrote them know that their words make a difference in the world.

  2. Mindy says:

    Yes! I tell the kids every week, but the best part is when I am reading the poems to the kids at Denney and afterwards someone at the table will say, “I wrote that.” And we all get to share with them how much their poem means.

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