by Mel Wells
We held two readings for students at Grant High School who worked with WITS writers this semester. Broadway Books was our fabulous host for both readings–thanks so much to them for letting us pack the space full on two weeknights!
For the first reading, students from Stephanie D’Cruz and Scott Blevins’ classes who worked with WITS writer James Gendron shared their work. These students had been writing poetry, and many admitted to being skeptical of poetry before the residency. “I learned a poem can be anything,” commented one student. Their pieces were all vastly different, ranging from sincere to cheeky to thought-provoking.
For the second reading, students from Mykhiel Deych, Dylan Leeman, Sunshine McFaul-Amadoro, and Kris Spurlock’s classes who worked with WITS writers Cooper Lee Bombardier and Mark Pomeroy shared both prose and poems. Again, the pieces were as varied as the students presenting them, from dystopian sci-fi to slam poetry about identity politics.
Despite the large audience, the space was utterly quiet as each student shared their piece, then erupted into applause. Afterward, just as at every WITS reading, many members of the audience commented on how impressed they were by the creative writing that students are producing in residencies. We are, too, and are looking forward to reading all of the submissions that Grant students submit for the WITS anthology!
Thanks so much to all the teachers at Grant who hosted residencies, to the WITS writers for their great work with students, and to Broadway Books for being wonderful hosts.