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Denise Hill

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KidSpirit is an online publication created by and for eleven to seventeen year olds, which empowers kids to explore the deeper side of life in a spirit of openness. KidSpirit is an unaffiliated spiritual magazine for young people of all backgrounds who like to think about "the meaning of life and the big questions that affect us all." The newest issue theme is Numbers & Symbols, with reviews of The Hunger Games and The Da Vinci Code, a question & comment section with prompts like "What significance do symbols have within a culture?" and "Could numbers exist without their symbols?" Essays range in topic, from high school junior Katie Reis's "Mall Walkers and McDonald's: A Study of American Symbols" to Fellow for the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment Misbah Awan's "Zero Is Hella Shady; by Humans, for Humans" - a humorous and well documented research essay.

If you are 11-17 (or even a bit older I'm sure is okay), this is a wonderful online publication in which to enrich your critical thinking and wile away those summer hours while keeping your neurons in excellent working condition. To access this and many more great quality publications for young readers and writers, as well as legitimate contests, visit the NewPages Young Authors Guide.

What's Your Normal?

July 15, 2014
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What’s Your Normal?” is a series of personal essays, accompanied by resource lists, highlighting the different kinds and forms of identities within Asian Pacific American populations. The essays were started following the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin on August 5, 2012.

An Asian Pacific American Library Association member sent an e-mail with basic information about Sikhism and links to resources asking for it to be shared with the public. From that, that APALA began accepting stories from the public that "give insight into your identity(ies) or what is normal for you."

The essays are published on the APALA website at regular intervals in the features section, with the resources lists being compiled in the resource section on the site. The APALA does this "Because we want to learn about you and from each other. Because we want to showcase the diversity within APA populations. Because we want to create resource lists that will be useful to librarians, other information professionals, and the general public."

For information about submitting essays and accessing resources, visit the APALA website.

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Located in Los Angeles, WriteGirl is a one-on-one mentoring and monthly creative writing workshop model for girls 13-18 years old. Started in 2001, WriteGirl has grown to become a recognized, and highly awarded, mentoring model for its efforts to promote creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills to empower teen girls.
 
WriteGirl serves over 300 at-risk teen girls in Los Angeles County. The Core Mentoring Program pairs at-risk teen girls from more than 60 schools with professional women writers for one-on-one mentoring, workshops, internships and college admission and scholarship guidance. In 2001, WriteGirl launched a 24-week creative writing program for incarcerated teens, and in 2012 successfully guided a 12-week series of workshops in Peru under the name Escriba Chica.
 
WriteGirl has published a dozen anthologies of writing from young girls and women of the WriteGirl project, as well as Pens On Fire: Creative Writing Guide for Teachers & Youth Leaders. Their most recent collection, You Are Here: The WriteGirl Journey also includes a section on writing experiments to inspire writing and editing.
 
You Are Here is a gorgeously printed publication with over 100 contributors and additional information about WriteGirl and their activities. What I enjoyed most about it was the addition of a single comment from some of the authors to say a bit about their works. Some explain the activity, such as this from Anneliese Gelberg (age 16) to explain her prose poem "Dreaming": "At a WriteGirl Workshop, the activity was to write about a favorite place. I thought of my bedroom - bu more importantly, I thought of that place we all go when we're waking up or falling asleep." And this one, from Kathryn Cross (age 14) to comment on her prose piece "Joy": "I wrote this piece after not making the volleyball team."
 
For anyone who is interested in working with teens and writing, especially at-risk youth, WriteGirl provides a excellent model to follow and publications to inspire and guide.
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The Center for Media & Social Impact has created numerous documents, codes, and teaching materials related to issues of fair use in the arts, including documentary, journalism, online video, visual arts, library science, poetry, dance, archiving, open courseware, and video. The publication Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry, among many other publications, is available free online or as a PDF download. "This code of best practices helps poets understand when they and others have the right to excerpt, quote and use copyrighted material in poetry. To create this code, poets came together to articulate their common expectations."

Teaching materials include fair use scenarios, fair use language for course syllabi, teaching fair use for media literacy education, and examples of successful fair use in documentary filmmaking.
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Thomas Elias Weatherly, born in Scottsboro, Alabama in 1942, passed away July 15, 2014. Poet Burt Kimmelman tells of Weatherly as "a brilliant, eclectic poet, the craft and reach of his poetry astonishing. He was a member of the inaugural poetry workshop at St. Mark's, under the tutelage of Joel Oppenheimer, and the second cook at the Lions Head when all manner of writer and poet could be found sucking up the nectar there. No degrees post the U.S. Marine Corps Tom was, among other things, the resident bibliophile at the Strand Bookstore in later years, before leaving NYC to return 'home' to the South. He taught variously at a number of colleges and universities, from time to time, and with Ted Wilentz edited what at the time was a game-changing anthology of contemporary African American poetry, titled Natural Process (Hill & Wang, 1971) His own poetry was also not only eclectic but game-changing as well."

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I've blogged plenty about it, now it's time for you to get signed up! Event Organizer Paul Nelson says there are already over 300 participants! Don't let that scare you; in brief, all you do is write one ORIGINAL postcard poem a day and send it to people on your own list (31 total), which means you also get postcards throughout the month. Writing start date is actually July 27, so deadline for signing up is July 26. If you haven't tried it yet, now is the time!
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