We the Poets at Kelly Writers House & on WXPN

The Arts and Spituality Center- We The Poets
January 28, 2008

On Monday, January 28th, poets and musicians from the Arts & Spirituality Center performed to a packed house at the Kelly Writers House of the University of Pennsylvania. Hosted by Michaela Majoun, the reading was part of the series, LIVE at the Kelly Writers House, which aired on WXPN 88.5 FM on February 4th at 8pm. You can listen to an archive of the entire program on the Writers House website (click here to listen now).

Cathy Cohen, Ph.D., opened the reading with poems inspired by and dedicated to students she's worked with as director of We the Poets. Cathy was followed by Safi Aziz, a 13-year-old student at Tredyffrin Easttown Middle School and a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Valley Forge, whose potent poem implores: "Let me write, just to soothe my soul/ Give me a piece of paper to put my sorrows down." (Read Safi's poem and his introduction to it here.) The featured poets also included Bernard Collins, teaching poet and artist, Magda Martinez, co-convener of our Visionary Artists Council, and student poets Brandon Ramirez, a 17-year-old student at Community Education Partners Hunting Park School, and Tammy Miller, a 13-year-old student at Mastery Charter School, who closed out the reading with an emotional selection of poems filled with pain, hope, and power. (Click here to read Tammy's poem "Mother where are you?")

The poets were joined by musical guests Marcy Francis and Jan Jeffries, who have been artists-in-residence with the Arts & Spirituality Center for several years. With Jan on the djembe and Marcy singing and playing sekere, these two artists invigorated and inspired the audience with their healing percussive rhythms, just as they have done for hundreds participants in Arts & Spirituality Center programs. (Read more about the great work that Marcy & Jan have been doing with the Arts & Spirituality Center later in this newsletter).

Many thanks to Kelly Writers House (in particular Erin Gautsche) for giving us this phenomenal opportunity. We also appreciate the Board members, artists, and friends of the Arts & Spirituality Center who attended the LIVE taping and to all who tuned in to listen to our radio debut!