This month’s Bright Spot from The Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens (TYWLS-Q) is focused on one particular student who has been a charismatic reader and participant in the CWP writing classes at TYWLS-Q, but who has struggled to write anything she cared about. Chavela has been a fun and engaging student to have in the class this year. She always has a quick anecdote, a thoughtful comment, or a witty joke to contribute to the discussion. However, Chavela has struggled to find anything in the writing that really means something to her and therefore anything she thinks is any good.
However, this week we did a fun writing activity that dealt with four different “poetry stations”. Students were asked to create a different type of poem at each station. One of the stations was targeted at creating concrete poems, or poems that take on a shape, such as a bird or a star, depending on what you are writing about. Chavela approached this with her usual reluctance to her own writing. She said, “I don’t know what to draw. I’m just going to draw a box.” So I said, “Okay then, maybe you can talk about how you’re feeling boxed in?” She looked at me and her mouth fell open. “What if I drew a cage?” she asked. “What if the bars were lines of poetry?” I replied. Chavela set to work and came up minutes later with this: