Monday, October 10, 2016

Networked for Literacy

Last weekend, Project Write presented at Networked for Literacy: A Celebration of Writing and Literacy. The event was held at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

Presenters involved staff from Independence National Historical Park, Write4Change, Project Write and Project Write campers.

The presenters discussed how place-based writing, digital spaces and history are all interwoven throughout the two-week writing camp each summer. Inquiries surrounding this blog and how to encourage people to comment were posed and feedback was encouraged. Project Write campers highlighted some of their favorite aspects of camp and shared a piece of work they wrote during their time at Independence National Historical Park.

After the presentation, audience members were invited to take a gallery walk around the classroom, which highlighted student work and inquiries from camp.

We were delighted to share our work in this capacity and look forward to our future work together. Please return often, as we hope to post current work from former campers throughout the year.

The entire crew!

Campers Sarah and Margaret

Friday, July 22, 2016

This that I do

What kind of writer am I?
It’s complicated
Very seldom will you find it
Therefore unrivalable
I don’t boast luxuries I don’t have
I don’t write about romance
So what is there to write about?
I don’t cry about the cruel injustice in the world
Or sit around feeling sorry for myself
So what else would i write about?
Why should I write about an economy or a species
That the very fact that i am apart of it brings me shame
I don’t have or care about feeling
So i can’t write about that
I mean I could but why would i want to?
Fiction is too truthful
Like any other human i can’t bare it!
Non-fiction is a lie.
But this that I do:
Is the fine line’
The fine print Which between underlies.
But i refuse to write about that.
This that I do:
It’s the uncensored story of a world
A world everyone chose to live in ignorance of;
Simply because it’s easier to accept than the candid answer.
And why listen to me spin a whimsical tale
of an old, rusty, dusty, abused, rickety
Abandoned factory of a land!
That only i can see?!
You could be chasing whimsical, grotesque, mythical creatures
That Only you can see.
I don’t waste time trying to inspire a world i don’t care about.
You don’t care enough to waste time to look right there
That...little...thing there.
Right there.
Oh yeah, you can’t see it.
Because until this day, you didn’t care enough to realise it’s existence...
Or maybe you didn’t want to.
So again, why should you believe me?
I could be telling the truth…
But i don’t waste my time on that.
I could be telling you... fiction…

I’ve been there

I live there.

By: Style Luxe

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Has there ever been someone that you can't stay away from?
Your friends deemed them toxic
You've probably developed a couple of stress pimples,
but you're still drawn to them?
Well that's my case.
Skittles, Justin Timberlake and basketball don't mean the same to me anymore.
I feel like Alice when she fell down the rabbit any time I look into a boy's brown eyes
Falling deeper and deeper until I reach his heart - 
Just to break it.
Shards of beautiful ruby were scattered.
Pieces so tiny that I'm still trying to put them back together
my hands can't work fast enough and my mouth won't form the words that'll bring him back together.
I still think about the mornings of skipping busses - 
just to see him
Standing out in the cold with a dress on because I thought he'd like it
Waking up on time to fix my hair and get my eyeliner perfect... 
...just to realize he preferred me natural
but that was okay. 
Traces of him are still in my phone despite how much I hate him deep down
but this burning I feel each time I hear that name
See his face
or even think about him
isn't hate.
It's another 4 letter word that scares me beyond scared
a word that I won't say, but I'm saying it at the same time.
While I pour my heart out endlessly he's probably worrying about someone or something else
Song "Our love has gone cold
you're intertwining your soul
with Somebody Else"
"I hate to think about you with Somebody Else."
The term "there's more fish in the sea" means nothing to me
Dang, if anything I'm the fish and he's my sea.
He’s everything I need to survive but
If I die then it’s just another fish gone.
That’s until his entire ecosystem starts screwing up.
Overgrowth of certain plants
Maybe undergrowth
Excessive amounts of whatever I preyed on.
But that probably won’t make his tides stop shifting and from his waves crashing on the sand.
I’ve realized he’s better off anyways. 
In my eyes, I was a beautiful dolphin he enjoyed keeping sheltered in his waves.
A dolphin that belonged in the deep blue but ended up in shallower tides
His lack of depth almost killed me, but I stayed anyways.
I ended up beached on his shores.
Turns out he’s wanted to get rid of me for a while.
However the sweet taste of release set me free from him
And my release being sweet for him too
Because he was free from me.

By: Santana Outlaw

Crimson Red

Crimson Red
By: Maya Anderson

        The corn blue moon illuminates the black star-gazing night - to insinuate a dark, foreboding fate. In this trivial time of the year- Christmas springs in the London air.Ominous  caricatures allure from the foggy windows of the apocalyptic ruins of my city due to the royal class of men in top hats. They claim that the streets of London are surrounded by insolent brats- poor people. Tis not the time for assimilation habitual cynicism of the ere coming of Father Christmas- tis a time for the corrupt streets of London to be painted Crimson Red.
It all began with a woman in pure white under the volition of the man in the black suit - whom she would fall for. She perverts her eyes in shame of her appearance and banal persona, which he is oblivious to. The way their eyes connected was as if lightning sparked through their souls- rudimentary it may seems. They converse in harmony about their anecdote of the past. The lassie, soon comes to a realization that she found her love - they are both nihilist of one philosophy that distanced them from the “normality”.
        He invites her to his home on the western side of the town where not many stay at. The idea of seeing his home was trivial, but the home was far from mediocre. He lived in a three story mansion that towered amongst the tallest of the trees in the surrounding woodland area. Within the refectory they chatted lightly and spoke upon political points along with those of religion. They sip on white wine that was delivered by a lackey, the man was well put together. She began to feel sick so she takes rest in a guest room in the left corridor. She slept long and heavy for what seemed like a day.        
She woke in a dark room unlike where she originally was. We gets up and slowly walks into what seems to be a light at the end of a tunnel. She walked into a large living room full of people in pajamas, gift boxes, food, and cheer. She did not see the man in the pool of people. That’s when a large ringing of bullets rained down on the people in the room. Her idea of happiness and warmth was disillusioned. As the bodies fell, she realized who the shooter must be. With discernment she was able to put blame on the man who had brought her in his home. Footsteps follow behind her. It was none other than the man himself, with a cocked back pistol tightly gripped in his right hand. The man was tyrannical.
As the anecdote goes, he took advantage of the woman that night and murdered her after he was fully pleasured. He was banal at her of her death by grasping onto her with the pistol to her head.
He killed off over 500 people that Christmas day. The citizens of the city began to rebel against each other and many people became itinerant. My family and I moved to the United States where I earned my baccalaureate in Criminal Sciences. I will find the man who killed so many of the townsmen, their wives and their children. Every Christmas nightmare leads to a motive for change in London.

Short Story Excerpt

When I got home, the treehouse called my name. I came to think needed some change in my life. Every day I do the same things. I go to school, come back from school, maybe read a little, eat dinner, and then go to the treehouse. Well, today I’m going to go to the treehouse first! I ventured through the dangling moss coming off of my house and threw my schoolbag on the porch. I then ran to the dirt trail in the back. I reached the redwood tree and made a left. I then saw mushrooms and guided my feet over the ones that looked like they were going to burst into a million pieces. I later started up the ladder counting each step. Six in total. The beanbag in the corner had an indention from my last time. I walked around it and then remembered - Michael!
I rushed down the ladder and through the leaves. I leaped over the mushrooms skinning one and made a right at the tree to go home. I was at the beginning of the dirt path as I sighed seeing no bewildered Micheal. I collapsed on my couch as my mom approached me. I forgot to tell her that Michael was coming. “Hi honey, how was your day?”
“The same as always,” I lied. Today was different. I had a friend.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” I said sternly now.
“I got a call from your classmate’s mother. His name was….Michael?”
Shocked I said, “ Oh….yeah, he is new to here. How did he get your number?”
“It was either you who gave him it or things go around town quickly. So, how is he? Does he read, play sports, like games?”
“ I don’t know, he is coming at seven. We will see.”
There was a knock at the door.
“Hey James,” Michael said when I answered.
“Hi Michael, do you want to come in?”
“Actually I was thinking that we could go outside.”
“Ok,” I replied, thinking he must be an outdoors type of person.
We went to the back and I hoped that he wouldn’t spot the trail.
“What does this dirt road lead to?” Michael said.
“Uh, nothing much, just a couple trees, maybe some animals.”
“Lets explore!”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Sure it would, what, are you scared?”
“Then come on!” He lead the way toward my route. He made a right at the big tree. I rubbed the sweat off my forehead as the sun hit us. But when he took a right it lead to a dead end. He then decided to go back and make a left towards the treehouse. He passed the mushrooms asking, “ Are they poisonous?”
“I don’t really know. I have never been here.” I lied.

By: Ryan Kurtyan

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Who said ebonics ain't punctual
who says  I don't talk right just because I don't “talk white”
There’s not much of a difference between “how are you?” and “what's good fam ?”
greeting you in slang just has a more comfortable twang
then the normal hi or hello
I don’t see why I have to switch codes in every new place that I go
Why my tongue has to run from where it comes from
Why  men mark my mannerisms as misguided
no matter how I think, what I say ,  or how I give greetings
people are always  more focused on giving my  melanin a meaning
where black means hands behind your  back
and brown means shakedown
they put prison bars in front of our greatest minds
they keep  our colors in between the lines
I’m pushing 17  and I still haven’t learned how to drive
I fear the  police will pull me over on an “intuition”    
I know ignorance has no  break,pause,or intermission
I'm just  trying to understand why color is always a reasonable suspicion
it's like my skin tone speaks volumes before asking what my name is even crosses your mind,
I must be blind
I just don't get this puzzle’s bigger picture
I guess I’m not bright enough to piece together the parts right  
But I can  certainly show you the dark side from civil rights to apartheid
I can tell you in confidence that  African or African American
no matter what complexion
there's always a blacker bullet waiting to remind you the closest to white you can get is a chalk outline
statistics say by 12 I would have already  committed my first crime,
gone to jail, by 16 I would have been sent there another time  
I’m supposed to be in and out of prison for  my entire life
but that isn't too long considering I’m not expected to make it past 25
The evens and the odds put aside their differences to stack against me
the way they wish to number my days
this skin must have an expiration date
they  judge us  at stands until we mature past ripe ,
work us till we’re sundried  
Forget oranges and blueberries
It seems they love to partake in our strange fruit instead
it's true
I may be a strange fruit indeed
but I do believe that you too can bleed
being near you makes  it hard to breathe
how can I sit still while you take bites out of me,
when I can still  see my skin ,juice, and seeds
poke through your teeth?
I’m so afraid to be torn apart piece by piece
I want to let Maya Angelou know that I'm still unsure of how to let my caged soul sing
loud enough to let the world know that I'm still trapped
but soft enough to hear the muffled tone of  freedom’s ring
freedom rings like  police sirens
like daughters and sons  strung high from poplar trees  
like blacks  being beaten ,battered, and bruised
like the boys in blue putting blood on the leaves
Sounds  like  more love for John and Jane doe
then what's ever been shown Dominique and Jerome
I speak properly because i'm no longer property
the police hold handcuffs to remind me that's optional
I have to remind myself that “talking white” and “talking right” aren't the same thing
But my “punctuality” is my way of  letting my  freedom ring
I let it bang through my teeth like bullets
wordplay is my war fare , I execute tools of rhetoric with excellence
my true  vernacular vibrates with seditious  volition  
In other words my vocabulary is vicious
what I'm trying to say in essence is that articulation will always be a matter of expression
That punctuality should not be about accuracy but about fulfillment
As for me, I speak the Queen’s english but I still want to be the fresh prince
Slang is like my creole
I speak colorfully, my comments are a collage of crayola
I know the meaning of words but I leave them so twisted  
In my war on textbook  definitions that webster's dictionary could never re-enlist them
I want to change my etymology and rewrite my definition
to show that this color isnt defined by ignorance but intelligence
I've had history locked in between these lips
since the first time I heard that martin had a dream
and I can't help but think his vision and what I’m living aren't exactly the same thing
so when I say “what’s good fam ” instead of “hello” and walk away proudly,in actuality
it just a small attempt at making another man’s  dream my reality

By: Matthew Faturoti

Girlish Injustice

I’m a girl
Sugar and spice and everything nice
Although right now I feel more like ice
The injustice makes my head spin

It’s such a long list,
Where do I begin?
A guy’s opinion is listened to,
A girl’s is pushed aside and discarded
We’re supposed to need help,
Be damsels in distress with our delicate feminine charm,
But crying makes us whiny,
Make up your mind,
Why dont’cha?

It isn’t fair and isn’t right
Girls should be a housewife but also a temptress
Make you sandwiches while being independent

When the husband makes more money it’s only right and proper,
But when the girl brings in the cash the guy gets major backlash,
Because oh my god he got beaten by a girl?
This proves he’s not “a real man”
He got beaten by the weaker sex

Beautiful maidens,
Supposed to be the symbol of innocence
Also supposed to have three kids
Before she’s even thirty

Tell us to take off the makeup because we should be natural,
Tell us we’re a fake,
We’re false advertising that already have a domestic fate

Say to be confident,
Yet hate when we are
Say short hair is boyish,
Get annoyed when we grow it

As a girl,
I can tell you I’m not taken seriously,
Told I shouldn’t dress like that if I’m not asking for attention,
Would wearing a nun’s habit finally make you happy?

Say girls are too desperate,
That all we want is a man,
Yet there seems to be no shortage of movies 
that would never pass the Bechtel test

Say girls are crazy and way too possessive,
That we scare you,
When we’ve been taught from day one
To compete in pursuing your affections

Taken out of class because our clothes are too “distracting”
When we disagree we’re catty, because girls should only be quiet and sweet
But when men fight, 
It’s badass,
We’re in for a real treat

Girls can only be straight,
Except for the sexual gratification of men,
In which case it’s “hot”
And not at all genuine

When a guy sleeps around, 
He’s cheered along and 
Considered a stud,
When a girl does it,
She just wants attention

Say feminists are crazy,
That we’re evil,
Can’t say I’m shocked,
 That you’re doing witch hunts again

You tell me that women get handed everything to them on a silver platter,
 But if I did,
If we did,
Then why would this poem even matter?

By: Zamira Sigel-Kulick