by Erin Brown
Literature for All of Us celebrated the end of another successful school year at Upton Sinclair Alternative High School with our annual Poetry Bash. Students, teachers, book group leaders, and board members gathered at the Poetry Foundation in downtown Chicago to honor the words and voices of over 70 young people—all participants in our weekly book groups at Sinclair, located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
by Abby Harris-Ridker
On Wednesday May 23rd, I took 5 book group participants from Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Alternative High School to do process art with Literature for All of Us’ friend Cal Calvird at his studio, Create Space. As Cal explained to our students, process art is a natural extension of book group, it is a way to process, write, and reflect on whatever is happening in your life. Cal’s process is simple, yet hard to describe in full detail - as the students acknowledged, you have to do it to understand its power.
We started with intention writing. There are only two rules for intention writing.–First, make things active in order to breathe the intention into existence. For example, instead of writing I want to relax, you write I relax or I am relaxed. Second, don’t write things in the negative. For example, we were instructed not to write an intention saying “I am not anxious,” because then what are we experiencing instead? We were guided to frame that feeling in the positive and write something like, “I am calm” or think about how we wanted to channel that feeling into our intention - for example, “I hold my anger and use it to repair the world.” We took time to quietly write our intentions and reflect silently.