About a month ago, I was contacted through the Denney Poetry Blog Teen Poems Behind Bars. The two gals who e-mailed me work as Art Empowerment Educators at the Sea-Mar Community Health Center in Seattle. They were working with a group of teen boys in recovery and they wanted to find out more about the poetry at Denney Juvenile Justice Center Poetry Workshop.
We met at Third Place Books and spent about two hours talking about poetry, art, and working with teens in recovery and in detention. It was a great evening.
However…the best was yet to come…
Last night, I attended the opening night for the Art and Poetry Exhibit by the Sea-Mar’s Community Health Center Teen Boys Recovery Program. Their art and poetry is on exhibit at the Greenwood Diva Espresso. The opening was part of the Annual Phinney Artwalk.
When I arrived, the boys were just piling back into two big vans. They’d been at the coffee shop, talking about their poetry and art, and drinking lots of coffee and eating lots of cookies. And if you’ve ever worked with teens in recovery, you know…sugar makes everyone a little bouncy! But, I thought it was great they could come out and talk about their work. This is one piece of the Denney Juvenile Justice Center Program which we can’t do.
The gals who ran the program quickly ushered me inside the coffee shop, and what I saw took my breath away. On every wall, there was art work and poetry. Slowly, I made my way around the room, reading each poem and looking at each piece of art. Immediately, I recognized prompts I use with the kids at Denney Juvenile Justice Center. The gals told me they’d used all the Denney Poetry Books and read the Denney poetry blog to help inspire their poems. I thought I might cry. It felt like the circle was continuing on.
When I began the Denney Poetry Project, I too had some help along the way. It all started when I found out a very good writer friend of mine was working with Richard Gold and the Pongo Teen Writing Program. I was very interested in the poetry workshop with the Pongo Teen Writing Program, but I didn’t want to commit to driving to Seattle every week. Traffic makes that is a very long drive. My writer pal suggested I see if there was a detention center near me who might like a poetry workshop. I contacted Denney Juvenile Justice Center and the Pongo Teen Writing Program donated a box of King County Juvenile Detention poetry books to the Denney kids, and we were off! We used those Pongo Teen Writing books the first year to help us write our own poems and until we had written and published our own books and blogs.
Now, here was a new group of teens, using the materials from the Denney Workshop to help them get started.
If you’d like to see the Sea-Mar exhibit, and I highly recommend it, the poems and art work will be on display all month at the Greenwood Diva Espresso. 7916 Greenwood Ave North in Seattle.
And here are some pictures from the exhibit.