Spring 2020: The Vote and Your Voice Poetry Project

 

SPRING 2020 ENGL 201 Poetry Project Poems: The Vote and Your Voice

ENGL 201 students contributed lines to the 15th, 19th and Youth Discussion boards after reading/highlighting the responses/raw material from hundreds of LCC students responding to the prompts in their own classes. I took the rough lines written by my 201 students, and wove together poems for each of the groups. Then I shared the rough poems and got their feedback for final revisions…which made me an author with the students 🙂  Here are the final poems – truly a work of community-generation.

 

Voting is…

Voting is a responsibility.

I have a say in who I am.

I’m here. I’m gonna tell you about me.

It is hard to vote, even when you know how

you want things changed in your world.

 

Voting is in everyone’s capability.

I have a say in our world.

It’s easy to know what you want but hard to know if you’ll end up with it.

Voting is difficult if you’re doing it right.

Anyone can vote for anyone

 

Voting is for the good of the Nation

I have a say in my vote.

I don’t believe most politicians; a pop rally sounds good at first

but there’s no message behind it.

I can vote and make a change.

 

Voting demands your participation.

I have a say in who we will be led by.

I have a voice and a right to use it,

to choose someone who might inevitably be corrupted

(gaining power is never good).

 

Do you remember that time not so long ago?

There was a time where only a select few could vote,

but things have changed.

We get the opportunity to decide

what our future will be like.

 

I have the right to make a change.

US citizens can make a change.

I have a say, a right to be represented, to be acknowledged.

I am not a number. Equality.  Every vote is valuable…?

I can voice my opinion.

 

Do you remember a time not so long ago?

The rich, elite, the white man controlled who voted,

but that is a time long past.

I am a part of that big decision.

Freedom.

 

We can all vote now, but there was a time…

Do you remember that time not so long ago?

Voting is important for our nation.

If I can vote, I will vote

Voting is…

 

by Christian Heuhs, Brenden Hutchins, Juliette Lanz, Celeste Montalvo, Andrew Schneider, Quinn Sheppard, Cameron Vann, and Barb Clauer (written in response to prompts re: the 15th Amendment)

Vote Or the Enemy Rises – Lines on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage)

100 years ago, we made a difference.

Do you remember the struggle, the fight, the triumph?

Voting today is the way it should have been.

Women deserve an opinion.

Voting isn’t a privilege; voting is a right,

your voice is heard.

 

I want to try and make a difference,

to be the voice of the empowered republic.

I wish I could turn off biases

so that this vote will truly be mine.

 

Voters overcome the evolving resistance

and are no longer bystanders, but participants.

The rights that women achieved help all people.

Voting gives equal opportunities.

 

When I vote, my vote becomes a sword

and then it puts the elite on edge.

My vote becomes a speck of dust and then,

with all the other votes, a sandstorm.

My vote becomes a bird and then it flocks.

It has power and is servant to the people

 

Voting is a part of something bigger

When representation expands, we all succeed.

Stand for what you believe in before

you must stand behind something you don’t.

100 years ago is the blink of an eye.

Vote or the enemy rises.

 

by Kayla Hall, Brooke Hill, Andrew Schneider, Quinn Sheppard, and Barb Clauer (written in response to prompts re: the 19th Amendment)

the future in our hands

voting is like…

um I don’t know

it affects my future

and something needs to change

why take the voice I have for granted?

 

there is no such thing as a wasted vote

today’s world is filled with the people of tomorrow

every citizen counts, voting is our right

but if voting makes such a difference

why do we feel that it doesn’t?

 

the world has and will continue to evolve and change

but if voting makes such a difference

then every citizen counts; it is their right

there is no such thing as a wasted vote,

but why do we feel that there is?

 

voting is like…

adding an ingredient to a soup

or a grain of rice, tipping a scale

deciding the degree of hell that we live in

hopefully I’ll make a change.

 

by Juliette Lanz, Sam McQuaid, Andrew Schneider, Quinn Sheppard, and Barb Clauer (written in response to prompts re: youth/first time voters)


These poems were included in the Fall 2020 Black History Awareness Event of the same name: The Vote and Your Voice.  Link to event video

May 2020: Virtual Poetry Project Presentation (PA days)

Script & poems for PD Day Lightening Talk on the Spring 2020 LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project

Hi everyone. We made it to the end of Spring semester 2020, the most bizarre, stressful, sad and, I would also say hopefully, inspiring semester of our lives. After Spring Break, we all had to dig deep to tap into our resilience and flexibility and then try to extend that to our students as well.  I would say I drew inspiration from how resilient and determined our students were especially when it came to my own project the LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project.  How that turned out is what I want to share with all of you today.

Many of you were involved in this semester’s Poetry Project by sharing prompts with your classes early in the semester (show sample prompt page/paragraph).  The prompts were connected to concepts surrounding the vote since 2020 is the 150th and 100th anniversaries of the 15th and 19th Amendments, respectively, as well as the first year many of our students are eligible to vote in a Presidential election.

After I had a short pity party for myself that this semester’s project would have to change dramatically, I adapted the process to work online.  Normally, the process of collaging the poems from all your students’ responses, which is the raw material, makes for a really amazing face to face day with my ENGL 201 Introduction to Poetry class as they work together to find interesting language and weave together poems from all the LCC student voices represented by the responses, your students.  This semester, in groups on discussion boards, the students read the different topic responses, wrote their lines and commented on each other’s work to suggest connections. Then, and this is the part that’s the greatest departure from the regular process, instead of the students, in real time, in their small groups, finalizing a poem from their lines, I took the lines and suggestions for connections and collaged the poems from that.  Then I shared the poems with the poets and they did the final revisions/edits together, again on the discussion board.  So…here are those poems with a reading assist from my new co-workers this semester, my two sons.

 

Link to 2020 Learning Together Professional Activity Days Lightening Talk Video:

LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project

Link to “Vote and Your Voice” post — poems/authors

Conclusion:  Those poems will be posted on my OpenLCC website for the Poetry Project (poetryproject.openlcc.net) along with the student poets’ names and more details on the process.  I definitely plan to continue with the focus of this project, The Vote and Your Voice, for Fall 2020 and will continue to work on adapting the process for our Fall online reality.  This semester, like all the ones before with the LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project, and in some ways even more so, served to again reiterate the truth of the 3 principles that I have determined drive the Poetry Project: Trust the Students, Trust the Process, Trust Each Other.

 

Description for the Lightening Talk:

A short introduction to and description of the Spring 2020 LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project “The Vote and Your Voice” and the ways I adapted it this semester. Includes readings (with help from my sons Josh and Caleb) of the three student-community-generated poems: “Voting Is…”, “”Vote or the Enemy Rises: Lines on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage)”, and “the future is in our hands”. Please visit poetryproject.openlcc.net to see the poems with the student authors listed, as well as more details on this semester’s unique process.

 

 

 

Fall 2020: Visiting History Scholar: Community-Generated Poetry Activity (Virtual)

NEEDS PICTURE

Visiting History Scholar Poetry Reflection session: THURS 11/19/20 6:00-7:30p “Poetry and History: Community-generated poems”

The 2020-2021 Visiting History Scholar series invited Dr. Robin Morris to LCC’s campus Spring 2020 to engage with her work on the Conservative Women’s Movement which included explorations of anti-ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) activism. As with so much Spring 2020, plans regarding the series had to change drastically.  Professor Anne Heutsche persisted, and the engagement happened virtually Fall 2020 in a three-part series.  The last of the series included reflecting on the ideas and themes in Dr. Morris’ work through the lens of an historical range of feminist poetry/poets.  The following poems were created by participants in the Visiting History Scholar Poetry Reflection session via a community-generated poetry activity using the following steps/process:

 

  1. I read and then posted in the chat two “inspiration” quotes – one from a feminist poet/poem, and one from Dr. Morris’ work (either a quote from an activist or a quote from Dr. Morris’ writing)
  2. I then asked the participants to take a few minutes and write a couple of lines in response to the inspiration lines.
  3. Then the poets shared their lines in chat while I copied/pasted to another document as the lines were posted.
  4. Initially, I had envisioned then crafting the order of the lines together, as we would have done in a face-to-face session, but that proved unwieldy via WebEx
  5. So, after participants had shared their lines, I just read the lines in the order I had copied/pasted them.
  6. Somehow that worked and ta-da, poems! 🙂
  7. I have only slightly tampered with these poems where line breaks and adding/or modifying punctuation helped with flow/sense. I’ve also given each poem a title that marries concepts from the two inspiration quotes with what emerged in the poem.

 

The poets who contributed lines to the poems are: Barb Clauer, David Guard, Nea Harris, Anne Heutsche, Jeremy Hockett, Melissa Kaplan, Kali Majumdar, Erika Schieberl, Pamela Smith


 

Poem 1: Anger and Privilege

“There are so many roots to the tree of anger…/which me will survive/all these liberations.” (opening line + last 2 lines of “Who Said it Was Simple” 1973 by Audre Lorde)

“Why should we lower ourselves to ‘equal rights’ when we already have the status of special privilege? — Phyllis Schlafly (1972) re: her Anti-ERA stance

 

Who said it was simple

to push our resilient roots through patriarchal concrete

buckle the sidewalk and

forge our own path for the special privilege of this uphill journey?

 

There are many feathers in the wings of desire

hopes soar to become what we want

 

The righteous roots of feminist rage creep above the ground

and threaten to uproot the tree of equality and freedom.

Will woman survive this anger or will they be destroyed in the struggle?

 

The privileged picture equal rights a bed of smoldering ash,

stinking and sodden

I picture liberation privilege’s explosion,

a fury of flames,

spreading the sweet scent of freedom

 

What are the roots of this privilege?

From which tree have they burrowed

Into the soil seeking to nourish

A self-righteous and wrathful woman

 

There was no practice for this anger I felt.

Sudden, and unknown

“Hush, now”

But, the blood pushing through scattered veins had never learned how.

 

Liberation – no glory for me, special privilege – above what is usually considered privilege.

it posits how we will survive liberation

gender equality is a reduction

To leave swinging her sisters from its branches of liberation?


 

Poem 2: Sons and God

“wishes for sons” the title of a 1987 poem by Lucille Clifton

“Women have babies and men don’t. If you don’t like this fundamental difference between men and women, you will have to take your complaint to God.” — Phyllis Schlafly (1972)

 

Are you there God? It’s me, mother of sons and I have a complaint:

I cannot find the ear where I might whisper my wishes for sons

for my sons…

I wish them epiphany without blindness, revelation without suffering

but for others?

I wish the pain of childbirth, the haunt of assault,

keys poised as claws in self-defense as they walk in darkness

and the eternal weight of women’s collective memories:

epiphany by revelation

 

childfree women

desire fulfillment

wonton women

 

How men hunger to understand a women’s world?

To be able to create another life within herself is the power

that God endowed to women. She was pleased.

Sons long to return to the womb of where they sprang.

Sons wish to have the power of life.

 

My son, were I to ever have one, would be my baby too.

I’d show him how to swim against the world’s tide

And hope that one day others join him

 

reckless desire

all god’s creation

 

wide eyes to see all the ways of love –

brave hearts to feel beyond the fear –

For unknown reasons

would your god want any less for your sons…or daughters?


 

Poem 3: Human and Woman

 

“That she somehow is not a human thing…/A wing, a branch, an extra, not mankind—” (From stanza #6 of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1911 poem “The Anti-Suffragists”)

“Women who Want to be Women” — (WWWW) A Texas women’s group formed by anti-ERA activist Lottie Beth Hobbs

 

Can the hawk fly wingless?

Does the oak survive without its branches?

 

Her presence is unique to those who seek her company.

what is a woman, a man, a human

a woman who wants to be human

a man who wants to be a woman

As you see me.

a woman, as strong as her roots

 

Keep your rib, sir, I have my own, full breasted and meaty

Women formed from a rib, a bone and not a human thing.

Not of mankind, women are bones and part of the earth.

They will be worn down to ash and then provide

sustenance for women who want to be women

 

Tell me once more what makes me a woman.

Tell me what appearance will satisfy,

and bind me to this world once more,

As a woman


 

Poem 4: Living and Battling

 

“Live not for battles won./Live not for the-end-of-the-song./Live in the along.” – Gwendolyn Brooks 1991 poem “Speech to the Young”

“The women began fighting both battles in the name of the American family” — Dr. Robin Morris writing about GA STOP ERA – 1972 (the 2 battles = STOP ERA and abortion)

 

How do we understand anything beyond “battle”

cooperate is even an odd word with too much emptiness within it –

how do we measure our loot?

wagin wars to heal souls

I find happiness in every day. Lord I thank you!

who is the medicine woman

Where is my justice?

 

The women understood they were planting

the seeds of liberation for the next generation.

They were living to provide the words,

the stanzas the tools to survive and thrive.

Women know how to craft together families from the scraps of their lives.

The women were fighting by resisting, persisting and creating

songs that cry for battle seeking justice

 

I see nothing within the battle

It is from along the sides of the fight that the picture becomes clear

warriors of the quiet moment, the crying moment,

once in the battlefield graves, the fight fell away

and all the souls shared the same stars

leave no one behind

 

Fall 2020 Inaugural “Inspiration Exchange” Community-Generated Poetry Activity (Virtual)

Inspiration Exchange inaugural session: TUES 12/8/20 6:00-7:30p — Three community-generated poems: inspiration exchanged 🙂

Inspiration Exchange Description/Invitation (posted in the Star, etc.):  Join the Inspiration Exchange! Students have Finals Frenzy, but what about faculty and staff? Take a break at the Inspiration Exchange on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. The first in what will be a series of periodic gatherings open to all LCC faculty and staff, the Inspiration Exchange is a chance to share, to listen, to create, and to be inspired. Created and led by Melissa Kaplan with Anne Heutsche and Barb Clauer, the exchange is a casual, informal Webex get-together. We’ll share what’s been inspiring us and then share in a creative activity. Each month, a different faculty artist will lead such activities as drawing or doodling, movement or meditation, nurturing plants or nurturing pets, and more. This month, Barb Clauer will guide us in group-created poetry through her LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project. The Inspiration Exchange is a no-pressure, low key, come-as-you are gathering. Cameras on or off, bring a drink or your dinner, participate however you’d like – it’s a chance to unwind, connect and share in the community.

The following three poems were created by participants in the first Inspiration Exchange session via a community-generated poetry activity using the following steps/process:

  1. The three of us (Melissa,, Anne, and Barb) each chose and read a poem that inspired us for various reasons. Barb’s was Mary Oliver’s “I Go Down to the Shore”, Anne’s was Marge Piercy’s “To be of use”, and Melissa’s was Mark Nepo’s “Adrift”.
  2. Then focusing on each poem one at a time I posted inspiration lines we’d chosen from our poems
  3. Oliver: “And the sea says/in its lovely voice:/Excuse me, I have work to do.
  4. Piercy: “I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,/who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,/who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,/who do what has to be done, again and again.
  5. Nepo: “Everything is beautiful and I am so sad./This is how the heart makes a duet of/wonder and grief. The light spraying/through the lace of the fern is as delicate/as the fibers of memory forming their web/around the knot in my throat.
  6. Then after a pep talk that there are lots of ways to be creative, lots of ways to contribute, lots of voices in poetry, no pressure to share what you’ve written, but know whatever you share will be appreciated and weave into/support others’ lines/words, I then asked the participants to take a few minutes and write a couple of lines in response to the inspiration lines.
  7. The poets then shared their lines in chat while I copied/pasted to another document as the lines were posted. I read the lines in the order I had copied/pasted them and the rough poems emerged.
  8. To finalize the poems, I played with line breaks, line order and adding/or modifying punctuation to support flow/sense. I’ve also given each poem a title connected to the inspiration lines.

 

The poets who contributed lines to the poems are: Barb Clauer, Paige Dunckel, Faith Edwards, Meg Elias, Ben Garrett, Anne Heutsche, Melissa Kaplan, and Jim Luke


Inspiration lines used from Mary Oliver’s poem “I Go Down to the Shore”:  “…And the sea says/in its lovely voice:/Excuse me, I have work to do.”

And the Sea Says

And the sea says in its lovely voice:

Come with me and be my guest

see for yourself how your confusion

impedes your quest.

You seek the sea and seek the sand yet

you stay in no man’s land….oh see within little one.

 

The sun keeps shining, ignoring me.

I step into the wave and feel the pull;

the wave separates me from my misery

the work separates me from my paralysis.

To do and to be, to do and to be.

 

I wrote a poem about the ocean once.

I could not take my eyes off the curves of the waves.

It was not work I was thinking of in that moment,

but the call of the moon.

It’s a never-ending refrain,

and the shores are rocky

 

I’m still, but the world keeps moving, leaving me behind.

In the quiet of the woods

where we find growth and decay

is an evocative tug on our heart strings:

we come from and return to the earth.

Now I am thinking about missing the ocean,

face toward the mist

little toes to tickle, tears to catch.

 

From loss to hope Is not a straight path.

It winds through grief and anger.

It stops at hurt. Often it stops at hurt.

But taken together, riding with compassion,

we can make it through resolve to hope.

Excuse me, I have work do to.


Inspiration lines from Marge Piercy’s poem “To be of use”:  “I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,/who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,/who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,/who do what has to be done, again and again.”

 

To Harness Ourselves

We strain in the mud and the muck

to move things forward.

But when my mind is blank

and I can hold no more of people and work

I retreat to hold my dogs.

Breathe, close my eyes, silence

and receive unconditional love.

 

Gargle, girgle, gurgle goes the muck around my boot.

Stuck in one place and trying to free myself,

I giggle and call for help.

Help comes in the form of my dog,

Who is now stuck in the muck and tugging on my boot.

How will we free ourselves?

Stepping out of my boots,

I step into the muck which oozes between my toes.

Freeing myself, I work to free the dog

one step at a time, together.

I love dirt. The dirt. Never a dirt. Never just dirt.

Castilano’s Trayectoria del polvo, the path of dust.

It is a beautiful thing to think of dust moving beneath us.

 

I love people who harness themselves

who strain, who do what has to be done again and again.

But even more are those who do what must be done

not because it is time again, but because it ought to be done.

My hands are out, waiting to be taken;

pulled up, pushed forward. I’m here.

My shoulder wedges against yours as we pull,

together we are stronger.

Even distanced I can feel the yoke

constraining, focusing, biting,

patient in its weight.

 

Is it too soon to pull the blankets back?

To know it all goes on and be reminded:

bees must carry on to survive, and so must I.


Inspiration lines from Mark Nepo’s poem “Adrift”:  “Everything is beautiful and I am so sad./This is how the heart makes a duet of/wonder and grief. The light spraying/through the lace of the fern is as delicate/as the fibers of memory forming their web/around the knot in my throat.”

 

The Knot of Memory

Silk spider filament alone is air,

but filament on filament on filament

becomes a steel cable, tied to the past

tied to me. Beautiful in sunlight or rain.

The light is delicate and fleeting. At night it will be gone.

But the web of my memory encases my wonder

and grief that I may ever be with them.

 

I do not know what memories form or how to form them

but they are a thread, intertwined like a duet,

each fiber holding me together

I have a very personal relationship with fiber.

It is both sad and, while I would not say beautiful,

I would say delicate and strong, or strength forming,

like a web built to catch me that sometimes

entangles awkwardly around my throat.

 

I drive by people walking, laughing, fighting or just living

and I wonder: What’s the use of that? Who do you think you are?

A speck of dust in the universe, in my eye.

I say to myself, count your blessings…really? Seriously?

Blessings are everywhere and so is despair.

Why did I have to lose a child? Seriously?

 

My grief is weighing heavily on me

Ephemeral like dust,

weighing heavy on refugees’ backs

like the layers of clothes,

we wear to battle the bitter cold.

Who will win?

 

Transient like wind, turning shacks to shatters.

The cold starts to seep into my bones!

Then the sun hits my face.  The snow glistens.

The dogs yip in glee, bouncing in the snow!

In that holy moment,

The layers of sorrow melt, but stay a part of me,

soft like water, shaping granite.

 

2020-2021 Poetry Project in collaboration with LCC’s “We Shall Overcome: Raising Our Voices Together” Multi-Genre Event

2020-2021 Poetry Project: “We Shall Overcome”                                        Community-Generated Poems:  8 prompts, 80+ student responders, 8 poets

Below is the text from the Poetry Project Invitation and Prompts (around 80 students from ENGL and HIST courses responded  late Fall 2020 semester):

 

Dear LCC Students: 2020 has been a challenging year.  As a way to reflect on and learn from challenges past, present and future, the Music Program at LCC is inviting students to lend their voices to a community-building project related to the song “We Shall Overcome” and its messages of unity, determination, racial justice, hope, and overcoming adversity. (If you’re interested in adding your singing voice as part of the virtual choir portion of the project, please contact Dr. Ten Brink tenbrinj@star.lcc.edu).  Please take some time to respond, in writing, to the following prompts.  There are no right or wrong ways to respond, although the more specific language you use the better.  Your anonymous responses will be used as part of the LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project, to craft one or more poems surrounding the concepts in “We Shall Overcome” (lyrics below the prompts) in order to let our voices be heard.  Thank you for taking the time to consider these prompts, share your ideas, and let your own voice be heard.

 

  1. What does the title of the song “We Shall Overcome” mean to you?
  2. One verse of the song is simply “We are not afraid” repeated. Afraid of what?
  3. Imagine you are singing this song. Who is your audience? What do they hear? How does that change if you are alone or with a group?
  4. Is there a song you often return to in order to help you get through something difficult? What song? Why?
  5. When I sing with others, my voice becomes a _________ and then it ________.
  6. Protestors often adapt a song to reflect current circumstances. If you could add a verse to reflect our current time or your current truth, what would you add?
  7. What title would you give your civil rights anthem?
  8. Singing as an act of protest is powerful because_________.

 

We shall overcome

We shall overcome

We shall overcome some day

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome some day.

 

We shall live in peace

We shall live in peace

We shall live in peace some day

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome some day.

 

We’ll walk hand in hand

We’ll walk hand in hand

We’ll walk hand in hand some day

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome some day.

 

We are not afraid

We are not afraid

We are not afraid today!

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome some day.

 

Love will see us through

Love will see us through

Love will see us through someday.

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome some day.


Faculty joining my PA day Poetry Writing Activity ended up being the poets 🙂  Here’s how that session went…

Rough outline for 1/7 10-11a PA day Community-generated Poetry Project – “We Shall Overcome”

Introduction

  • Ok to record? (disclaimers: not a WebEx pro, worried if I share my screen I get kicked off…)
  • so…yesterday was intense; feels like both a luxury and a necessity to do creative work like we’re going to try today
  • we’ll see how it goes – this approach is brand new…I’m making it up as you watch :/
  • I have no specific hopes or goals for what we produce, I haven’t done this in this way before and I’m grateful for the push to further evolve the Poetry Project
  • a little about Jon’s project – virtual choir performance end of last semester and larger collaboration coming in Feb. (Jon?)
  • Poetry Project jumping in to be part of that really cool project
  • what is community generated poetry (perfect for this Overcome Project)
  • idea for today is to create/weave together one or more poems from the raw material; then that poem or poems might be woven into the virtual choir project
  • describe how we’d do this f2f (separate tables for the prompts, raw material hard copy, highlighters, sticky notes, big notepad)
  • describe how we’re going to try this today (connect to Sp20 Vote Poetry Project – students submitted lines to a discussion board and I wove them together)
  • Cory Booker quoted “we shall overcome” in his comments in the Senate chamber around 9p…

 

Let’s try this:

  • How many did the “homework” (reference the “directions” document) How did that go?
  • how many wandered in here without looking at the “homework” b/c poetry sounds like a salve today? totally fine! don’t leave! you’ll be able to contribute or even just listen if that’s what you need
  • what prompts did they cover?
  • General plan:
    • focus on one prompt at a time (just as a way to organize our work)
    • share the lines you’ve copied/noted/highlighted verbally
    • talk a bit about what we’re hearing
    • put lines that seem to connect in the chat – I’ll copy to another document and then read back
    • do we have a poem? or maybe a stanza?
    • repeat with next prompt
    • if we don’t use a line or you didn’t share it or if you find others you can always e-mail me – I will be continuing to work with the raw material and perhaps play around with more poems in the future
  • If we run out of “homework” let’s look at the Prompt 5 (when I sing my voice becomes…) together and pull out good lines/images

Each poem had a different list of poets so they are listed below each poem…

 

When I Sing with Others (re: Prompt #5 When I sing with others, my voice becomes a __ and then it ___)

 

When I sing with others, my voice becomes a

beacon of light, an anchor, an echo

and then it guides,

smooth like butter on a hot pan.

 

It becomes a low rumble, invoking a primal force,

and then my voice rises, growing in intensity,

gathering with others, becoming a surge

of truth and undeniable unity.

It becomes a tidal wave that washes over everyone

an earthquake that moves mountains.

 

When I sing with others, my voice becomes

a seed that blossoms

a part of something greater than myself,

interconnected.

My voice is a vibe and then a party with friends.

 

It’s a beacon and then it echoes.

an instrument and then it amplifies

My voice becomes a Siren

that blends as I get in tune and harmonize

 

When I sing with others, my voice becomes

a small ingredient in the recipe

it becomes part of a whole, growing in strength

My voice becomes a wave and then it spreads

 

It becomes a bird, that flocks and then soars

ensuring everyone hears the messages.

My voice becomes a thread

that pulls us together.

 

When I sing with others, my voice

becomes an instrument that amplifies

a chorus beyond me

We gather force, sending a message of urgency

heard by the ears that need hope

 

My voice becomes a carrier and then a reason

Singing together, we are more powerful and far-reaching

than the sum of each part

My voice is a part that becomes the whole,

synecdoche, cacophony, euphony

and then translucent light.

 

Poets: Suzanne Bernsten, Barb Clauer, Willie Davis, Jennifer Hood, Melissa Kaplan, Kali Majumdar, Chuck Page, Jon Ten Brink


 

New Verses (from Prompt 6: add a new verse to “We Shall Overcome” – this is the one I’m hoping others will work with to more skillfully arrange and hopefully sing it following “We Shall Overcome”)

 

We have come this far

We have come this far

We have come this far, today

Hope will aid us through

I know it to be true

we have come this far today

 

Say her name, say his name

we are not to blame

it seems they are hunters

and we are their game

We live in a world of fear, a cry for help,

for the future, for our own sake

 

Though others scream lies,

though others scream lies

Though others scream lies today!

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall speak with one voice someday.

 

We shall see the light,

We shall see the light

We shall see the light someday

O deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall see the light someday

 

We breathe the same,

We sleep the same,

We all have a heart.

We can make the world start anew.

Tangled up in Blue;

Behold the Temple of Light

 

Bring us together,

in any kind of weather,

to march for right, in plain sight,

bring peace to the world,

and freedom unfurl,

come back to win, again and again.

 

Stand with loved ones,

stand with all,

today does not determine tomorrow.

and even if I fall, I am no longer alone,

the fight will rage on,

as I am on my way home.

 

Poets: Suzanne Bernsten, Barb Clauer, Willie Davis, Jennifer Hood, Melissa Kaplan, Kali Majumdar, Chuck Page, Jon Ten Brink


 

Only Titles (from Prompt 7: What title would you give your civil rights anthem?)

 

Together We Thrive

We Fight as One

I Release Myself to Love

The End of Divisions

We All Live Free

United with Love

The Path Is Yet to Be Walked

A Step Forward

Today is A Day

It Will Not End Here

 

No More

We Won’t Stop Now

Your Soul is Infinite

I Release Myself to Love

The World Needs a Change

We are One

The Justice We Deserve

Freedom Belongs to Everyone

The Future is at Stake.

Wake Up

 

Poets: Suzanne Bernsten, Barb Clauer, Willie Davis, Jennifer Hood, Melissa Kaplan, Kali Majumdar, Chuck Page, Jon Ten Brink


 

Unstoppable (from Prompt 8: Singing as an act of protest is powerful because_________.)

 

I once sang a Swedish protest song

covered in bruises

eyes still stinging

from the tear gas and pepper spray.

Singing is more powerful than shouting;

It’s the souls’ key and no one can silence

a song we all know.

 

If you sing, you will be heard

a shared act of creation, the calm power

that although seems weak,

may, in fact,

be unstoppable.

 

Poets: Melissa Kaplan and Barb Clauer


 

We Are Not Afraid

(from Prompt #2: One verse of the song is simply “We are not afraid” repeated.  Afraid of what?)

 

Fear will not oppress us.

Fear will not control us.

Of course we are afraid but

together we are stronger than our fear.

The cloud of uncertainty looms but

we are not afraid of losing hope,

not afraid of change,

not afraid of freedom.

Our futures are unguaranteed but

we can envision the future

and we are not afraid.

 

Poet:  Barb Clauer


Many of these poems were then incorporated into the Music Programs Virtual Choir Program “We Shall Overcome: Raising Our Voices Together”.  This program won a Gold Telly in the 42nd Annual Telly Awards.

We Shall Overcome

 

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