Youth Programs

Wrapping up WITS 2019-20

At the heart of Writers in the Schools (WITS) is the opportunity to engage in creative writing with a supportive community. For some students, this may be their first foray into longer stretches of dedicated creative writing time without the pressure of grades. It’s likely the first time for most having a published writer in the classroom.

As students and educators in our community are in the midst of finishing up their last week of school for the 2019-20 academic year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight one residency (of many!) that thrived in the face of the pandemic, and invite students to submit to their work to the 2019-20 Writers in the Schools Anthology by June 15, 2020.

Franklin High School virtual reading, June 2020

WITS at Franklin High School

WITS Writer Amy Minato worked with WITS partner teacher and writer, Dana Vinger, at Franklin High School this past spring semester. Both are long-time participants in the WITS program and their residency together went exceedingly well. Amy’s curriculum was varied, but honed in on poetry. The following poem was collaboratively created by the class with a line submitted by every student. It feels like the perfect reminder to let out for school with.

Writing Is

By: Dana Vinger and Amy Minato’s Franklin High School WITS residency class

Writing is lightning in a bottle, raw, volatile,

but also refined and purposeful. It’s looking

out the window on a rainy day.

Writing is an accidental plane ticket

you buy on a night

you’ve lost your mind.

Writing is peeling a lime, talking with a handful of marbles in your mouth, or performing open heart surgery on a mouse

Writing is a compass. You don’t know where you’re going so you pick any direction and find a new trail to explore. It’s the slurry of sourdough starter at the back of the fridge. Potent. Smelly. Waiting.

Writing is a treasure hunt. I load my boat with supplies, kiss Mama goodbye and punch my brother in the arm. Take one more good look at the shores of Blank Page, the cloudy skies of ambitious thoughts, then untie my ropes, set sail and try to stay afloat during the storm.

Writing is a wall you tear down brick by brick with bare hands. A mirror you see a bit of your complicated self in. It’s a meadow full of flowers trying to grow while middle schoolers play soccer.

Writing is a wave building up then crashing on the shore. It’s grocery shopping – not knowing what you’re looking for, but finding treasure.

Writing is building Ikea furniture, instructions unclear, pieces missing you think never came in the mail but are somehow under the sofa, finally hammering the last wooden peg into place.

Students can submit the Writers in the Schools anthology using this form with parent or guardian permission. All submissions are due by June 15, 2020.

You can learn more and/or purchase a copy of the 2018-19 WITS anthology, To Break the Stillness, here. All proceeds support the youth programs of Literary Arts.

Questions or inquiries about the anthology can be sent to Youth Programs Coordinator, Olivia Jones-Hall at

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