Sustainable Poetry

Roots and Shoots

I have to share because I’m super proud of this one!

I recently completed a project with Meadows West School that explored sustainable relationships through Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program (yes, that Jane Goodall, author of Gorillas in the Mist). With funding provided by the Manitoba Arts Council’s ArtsSmarts program, I worked with students to develop spoken word skills in a two-week residency back in the fall. And from those groups, teachers picked four superstar students who met with me last month to discuss what it means to “Act Locally, Think Globally”.

Over the course of three half-days, we had the school’s art room to ourselves to put those skills to the test and come up with a collaborative piece. Together we explored writing on sustainable relationships to the environment, businesses, and of course, each other. On the last day, I put them through the grinder of performance rehearsal and voila! we came out of it with a solid team piece recorded on video!

I look forward to returning again to see the team present their piece in front of the school at their assembly next month. It’ll be a large audience for them, but given the individual creativity and charisma, they’re sure to wow their peers and teachers alike!

Though I enjoy working with entire classes, I love the small, dedicated groups that I can focus towards creating art that explores important social issues, like my work with The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation. In a similar setting, I met with students in 2015 and 2016 to create spoken word pieces that were recorded and shared via YouTube, as well as during International Development Week in their respective years. Such great talent and experience!

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