In his essay Artists in Times of War, Howard Zinn writes “…it is the job of the artist …to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare to say things that no one else will say.” * Yes, of course, but where in our current world of standardized testing and limited access to opportunity do our urban youth get the space and encouragement they need to become the artists Howard Zinn envisions? One place is Books of Hope (http://booksofhope-ma.org), a writing and literacy empowerment program located in the Somerville Housing Project that encourages urban and immigrant youth to develop their own voices through writing poetry. The young artists of Books of Hope do more than creative writing however; in addition to writing and performing their poetry, they also publish their own work and sell their books on the Mystic Ink Book Tour, inspiring other young people to read and to write their own poetry.
Listen to Soul Brown, Director of Books of Hope, describe this inspiring project, hear readings of four dynamic and vibrant poems, read by their youthful authors, and listen to a discussion of poetry, life, and art by these four young poets, moderated by Janet Gillespie. The work of these youth is ferociously honest and imaginative, full of life, and yes, hope. Their voices may inspire you to “…think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare to say things that no one else will say.”
Let us know what you think!
This program was previously broadcast on The Bridge on May 25, 2012.
*Zinn, Howard. “Artists in Times of War.” Artists in Times of War, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2003. 14. Print.
Listen to Books of Hope on The Bridge here:
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