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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poetry Work Shop 2014

This summer C.Y.C.S.I. hosted it's first poetry work shop lead by Urban Word Poet Jah-Don Hart. Students from grades 3rd through 8th participated.  

The purpose of the poetry workshop is to expose students to a different form of creative expression that is fun and engaging and also reinforces literacy skills. The goal of the poetry workshop is to help the students develop original poems and spoken word pieces.
The workshop took place over a course of 3 days. During the first session students learned about the fundamentals of creative writing and the importance of limitless freedom when writing creative pieces. During the second session students participated in writing prompts geared towards developing poems centered on specific themes such as New York City. During the third session the students begin to finalize their pieces and we're introduced to performance poetry techniques. 

Select students will further develop their pieces and perform them at the summer culminating event. 
Below are some poems inspired by different writing exercises the students participated in:

About Jah-Don Hart

At the age of 17, he received something that would forever change his life—his 
first poetry award, which was an Honorable Mention given to him by Random 
House’s Creative Writing Competition for High School Seniors. He went on to be a 
Knicks Poetry Slam Semi-Finalist, and had featured performances for the Brooklyn 
Public Library, Urban Word NYC, NAACP Jamaica –Queens Branch etc. When he was 
19, he became a member of the Word Wide Youth Leadership Board at Urban Word 
NYC, a select group of ten teens who would become the faces of the non-profit 
that reached out to thousands of inner-city youth through literature and 
hip-hop. That was the same year that he became one of New York City’s Youth Poet 
Laureate Ambassadors, which were poets who traveled from venue to venue 
encouraging youth voter engagement.

But amidst all of the awards and achievements, something was terribly wrong. 
“All of my friends know me as a political activist and a philosopher”, lamented 
Jah-Don, “but none of them know me as a man of God.” On February 12th, 2012, 
Jah-Don publicly renounced all of his hypocrisy, his double-mindedness, and was 
baptized into Christ. He took a half year’s hiatus from writing so that he would 
“break out of the general spoken word mold”, “live more responsibly”, and “learn 
to understand the human heart”. After such, he came to perform in front of his 
previous mentors (and some modern legends of poetry including Abiodun Oyewole 
and Carvens Lissaint) who were baffled by the sudden boldness that was now 
inextricably tied to all of his messages. This was since he decided to divert 
the focus of his poetry from tales of rebellion to the ills of the human heart, 
and how every ill stems from what man decides to do and not to do.

Now, at the age of 22, Jah-Don has currently taken a hiatus from the stage to 
write a dystopian allegory, titled Neo Laodicea and the Jeweled Palaces, which 
he expects to release sometime in 2016.


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