Our summer camps provide writers with a creative, enriching experience that allows them to explore their imaginations while also building confidence and developing literacy skills.
We spoke with Mannikka, who is teaching The Spoken Word Project for rising 7th & 8th graders (August 15 – 19, 1 to 4 p.m., Red Bank Borough Schools) to find out more about her and what to expect in this camp.
Read more about The Spoken Word Project here.
PWN: What do you love about Spoken Word?
MANNIKKA: There is so much to love! Specifically, I enjoy listening to other poets command the attention of the audience, just with their voice. I began watching spoken word poetry almost 15 years ago through Def Poetry Jam clips on YouTube. I loved the hip hop elements that were incorporated in the art form, specifically how the performers broke certain rules in writing but yet still incorporated poetry techniques. It is brilliant craftsmanship.
PWN: What can campers expect in The Spoken Word Project? (What if I’m shy/introverted—is there still a place for me in this camp?)
MANNIKKA: There will be other introverts joining me?! Yay! I think you can expect the unexpected. I like to tap into individuality and the genius that is undefined. Art, dance, movement, science, flow … creativity will be explored and celebrated! The way I describe my classroom to students is to think of a movie and the end credits. There is a reason why that portion of a film is five minutes long. It is not just about the main actors but about the production TEAM as a whole! Everyone has something to contribute. You just have to be courageous and willing enough to risk sharing it with our group.
PWN: What is a piece you’ve written (and performed) that you are proud of?
MANNIKKA: I would definitely say it is my latest piece titled “Stank Face.” The process was extremely tiring for me, i.e trying to come up with so many connections to ensure the audience would have a sensory experience. My proudest moment was after my performance, my neighbor told me her 6-year-old son said, “Mom! Mom! Are you recording this! We need to show it to Sofie” (his older sister). I am sure he didn’t recognize or understand the ’90s references I sprinkled in the piece, but through my inflictions, gestures, pauses, and rhythm he was able to connect with me and the work on a deeper level. Which is really dope and a part of emotional intelligence that we don’t often get to explore!
PWN: Why do you write?
MANNIKKA: This has changed for me over time. I used to write because I needed a way to get feelings out. I always enjoyed writing poetry because I see the world in metaphor. There are times where it is difficult for me to verbally explain my processing and writing is healing for me in that capacity. I still write for this reason but now I have added another layer. As I get older, memories have become more distant. In order to preserve these precious moments, I write them down. My hope is one day my children will be able to read my writings and have a more complete understanding of our story and life together.