Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
We are thrilled to announce the winners of our 2022 PWN Teen Voice & Verse writing contest!
In our 7th through 9th grade poetry category:
1st place – “Commanding a Storm” by Karsyn Jo Kreiss (13, 7th grade, Iowa, USA)
2nd place – “I warned you the sky would burn:” by Lianne Atzmon (13, 8th grade, Tel Aviv, Israel)
3rd place – “I Am From” by Reina Dean (15, 9th grade, New Jersey, USA)
In our 10th through 12 grade poetry category:
1st place – “The Times” by Jessica Reed (17, 12th grade, New Jersey, USA)
2nd place – “Woman of Mankind” by Anusha Bansal (17, 11th grade, New Jersey, USA)
3rd place – “Names That Mean Nothing” by Will Roth (18, 12th grade, Pennsylvania, USA)
In our 7th through 9th grade prose category:
1st place – “Untitled” by Ori Rosmarin (15, 9th grade, New Jersey, USA)
And in our 10th through 12th grade prose category:
1st place – “Lot” by Isaac Van Benthuysen (18, 12th grade, New Jersey, USA)
2nd place – “I See Bombs Away” by Bella Melardi (17, 11th grade, Ontario, Canada)
3rd place – “Happiness Ends in Heartbreak” by Ollie Small (15, 10th grade, Florida, USA)
You can read their winning pieces in our new feature issue of Bridge Ink: Volume Six, Issue Two, and you can also hear them read their pieces themselves(!) this Sunday, April 3, at our second annual PWN Teen Lit Fest!
Writers and artists of all experience levels are welcome for this fun, engaging day of virtual interactive workshops, informative panels, and opportunities to share your work. We’ve invited our Voice & Verse winners to read at the culminating open mic, so be sure not to miss it! Read more about the event and grab your ticket today!
We had an incredible Saturday (or should we say Caturday?) on March 5, writing at Catsbury Park! We read “February,” by Margaret Atwood, and wrote about our own morning routines. We read “The Cat’s Song,” by Marge Piercy, and wrote about what we’ve learned from cats. And of course, we were inspired by the purrrsonal guests that sat in our laps as we wrote! If you’re sad you missed it, don’t worry! We have another opportunity for teens (ages 11-14), Writing With Cats, on April 20 and another for adults, PWN at Catsbury Park, on April 30! We hope to see you there!
Every Friday, we meet on Zoom for one hour to write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month, we explored the themes: “Rose,” “Case,” and “De[e/a]r.” We are so grateful to Tina Hudak for sharing her art with us to use as one of our prompts under the De[e/a]r theme. Though writers never have to share, we always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an incredible, supportive community. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to see what our upcoming themes will be!
Red Bank Middle School
- In-School: 8th Grade
We have been working on video storytelling with the 8th grade AVID students at RBMS this year. This month, we began scripting and writing loglines for our group videos, and we brought in a special guest, screenwriter Lizzie Finn, to help plan out the filming portion of our projects. Lizzie discussed the importance of camera angles and how perspective alters the tone of a story. She even brought two volunteers up to the front of the room to demonstrate the 180-degree rule. We are so grateful to Lizzie for coming and inspiring our students as they delve into their own video projects!
- In-School: 7th Grade
We read “A House Called Tomorrow,” by Alberto Ríos, to the 7th grade AVID students at RBMS. We talked about how past generations may have made us, but we are the only ones in charge of our futures. We then wrote to the prompts: “You are not …” “You are made of …” and “When you hear thunder …” (All lines pulled from the poem.) We were thrilled to hear the positivity that came from each student as they shared sentences like: “You are not worthless” and “You are made of passion and talents.”
- In-School: 6th Grade
We did ekphrastic writing with 6th grade AVID students this month. First, we read “The Widower,” by Nick Bertelson, and then we looked at the image that inspired his poem. Together we took notes on what we saw in the image, then we used the image and our notes to inspire our own writing. One student shared a poem about a lonely man who loved to write, another shared a story written from the perspective of a ghost. We were struck by the depth and detail that came from their vivid imaginations. We then invited students to bring in their own art to write from, and the results blew us away! One student shared a piece from the perspective of a person in the city standing below King Kong. Another wrote a story about a ghost that haunts your dreams. And another shared a story about a boy who was too bright for his world and had to be ousted to bring back the balance of light and dark.
- After-School: 6th-8th Grades
We had a bittersweet conclusion to our after-school program for 6th-8th graders at RBMS this month. We opened by inviting students to write questions on notecards (anything goes!) and then we used two random questions as writing prompts—”What is beyond space?” and “Are you sad that today is our last day?” We then read a page from Charlotte’s Web and used it for blackout poetry. We were so impressed with the unique ways each student recreated the words on the page to make them their own. We celebrated with lollipops and creativity. We can’t wait to come back soon for our next after-school session!
- After-School: 4th-5th Grades
We created art to inspire our works with the 4th-5th graders at RBMS this month. We ripped up paper to make collage art and then looked at our creations to find the stories hiding inside them. We love what they came up with!
Red Bank Public Library
This month, we wrote about objects we have carried forward from childhood into our adult lives at the Red Bank Public Library. We picked one of those objects to dig deeper into the story behind it by asking, “If we were under siege, as Ukraine is now, and you had to flee your home, what would you carry? How would you choose? Is choosing easy or difficult?” We were blown away by their responses!
Shore House (Long Branch)
We are thrilled that so many members have been showing up for our classes at Shore House recently! We opened by reading the poem “Lunch Break,” by Francisco Aragón, and then we wrote about places where we feel at peace amidst chaos. Writers shared touching stories about being wrapped in the arms of loved ones, sitting in cozy reading corners, being at church, at the beach, even just in their own backyards. Then we came back to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day by writing our own “Irish Blessings,” or what we wish for the world. Seventeen members came to write with us that day! We were so touched by the stories and poems that were shared—all of which held themes of love, community, belonging, and purpose. We wish everyone finds a place like Shore House and PWN—where judgment is suspended, stigma is erased, and everyone is valued equally!
Teacher Writing Collaborative
We’ve continued writing in response to poetry, pulling lines from poems such as “Drift,” by Alicia Mountain, and “La Biblioteca is a Doula,” by Magdalena Gómez. We are always moved by the raw emotion that comes from these pieces and are grateful for the community we’ve formed. The TWC is open to all teachers at any time. Join us today!
Teen Arts Festival
We were honored to participate as adjudicators in the Teen Arts Festival, sponsored by Monmouth Arts. We had the pleasure of reading and giving feedback on nearly 100 pieces of writing and were blown away by the insight, creativity, and talent! Then we spent two days at the festival giving workshops that helped the young writers dig deeper into their pieces. We are so grateful to Monmouth Arts for giving us this opportunity.
Teen Writing Group
We are thrilled to have eleven students enrolled in Teen Writing Group this session, one of whom is Zooming in all the way from Canada! So far, these teens have shared deep introspective writing about their fears, fun fan fiction about their favorite characters, and moving works about nature and their favorite kinds of weather. We love seeing this group grow together each week. Join our global teen writing community by registering for the next session of Teen Writing Group, today!
Through our mission as a nonprofit organization, we remove barriers to participating in our studio classes by providing full and partial scholarship seats as well as payment plans. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have met that need by offering more scholarship seats. In 2021, we provided 63 adult and 21 youth/teen seats totaling nearly $14,000. So far this year, we’ve awarded 26 seats totaling $6,550! For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.