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Poet Warriors Project

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - - In schools across America, there’s a growing push to reintroduce poetry back into the classroom.

It’s called the Poet Warriors Project.

The program gives students from low-income neighborhoods an outlet, where they can express themselves and write freely about the issues that affect them.

Some of those schools are right here in Memphis.

The kids at Kingsbury middle are enthusiastic about the opportunity to let their voices be heard.

According to their 6th grade English teacher, Kate Southerton, every kid has a story to tell but what they lack is an outlet to tell it.

“There’s so much talk in education about being advocates for children, and being advocates for students,” Kate says, “what’s cool about the Poet Warrior Projects is that students become advocates for themselves.”

Kate’s sister, Emily, started the program in her classroom in Mississippi. She’s a sixth grade teacher, just like Kate.

Emily saw that her kids were hesitant to write because they’ve been so bogged down in grammar, things they were used to being bad out. She found that with poetry kids were so much more willing to write, they had important things to say that in most formats they aren’t allowed to.

They write what they care about, and with poetry they feel freer to write it.

Emily started the program where she traveled the country and started writing poetry in different classrooms, the program has since grown immensely- it’s now in over 20 different cities. They hope to make it even more widespread.

All of the students’ poems get published on the Poet Warriors Project website for the entire world to see.

Kate says her students are more enthusiastic to be open and honest and try their best, knowing they have an audience, she thinks that poetry should be re-introduced to classroom curriculums.

“It’s a revitalizing type of thing, seeing my kids write poetry for the first time and seeing how excited they get that they can say whatever they want in a format where they didn’t have to worry about anything but what they want to say… it’s something kids are disconnected from and eager to reconnect with.”

To read the poetry published and check out the year-round curriculum for teachers, here’s link to the Poet Warriors Project website: www.poetwarriorsproject.com

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