The Word – a Youth Poetry Jam

{Helping students learn to read, critique, write, and perform poetry – photo by Judy Sirota Rosenthal}

The Word is a spoken word poetry education program run by New Haven poets Aaron Jafferis and Hanifa Washington, and facilitated by the Institute Library, in partnership with the Future Project and New Haven Public Schools. We are in fifth year of the program, which is  a continuation of work Aaron Jafferis has done in New Haven Public Schools since 2000. The program reaches 100 middle school students in three schools: Columbus Family Academy, Fair Haven School, and Edgewood School. At Columbus Family Academy, instruction is bilingual. Additionally, the program reaches 25 New Haven high school students from across the city, who participate in poetry meetings at the Institute Library. Spring semester instruction and creative endeavors culminate in two live Poetry Jams, which allow the students to share their voices and  their work with the New Haven community. In 2016, The Word received the Neighborhood Cultural Vitality Grant from the Mayor’s Office.

To visit the official website for the Word, click here.

“The Word is something that we hope will continue to grow,” said Jafferis at the event. His words from earlier that night of the students — that “some nights, I realize, my life depends on them” — floated into the space, and crackled to life.
— from the article in the New Haven Independent by Lucy Gellman (May 2, 2016)

Watch this video produced by Travis Carbonella.

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