March 2019 Featured Writers: BrotherHOOD and SisterHOOD

Three women sitting at a table and smiling.
The women in SisterHOOD dedicated their evening to writing and sharing poetry.
Three women sitting at a table and smiling.

The women in SisterHOOD dedicated their evening to writing and sharing poetry.

Every month The Office of Campus and Community Writing celebrates a writer or group of writers from the campus or local community as part of our Featured Writers Series. 

BrotherHOOD and SisterHOOD Poetry Anthologies

March's featured groups are the BrotherHOOD and SisterHOOD Initiatives. As campus organizations designed to assist first-year men and women students of color, the two groups meet monthly for networking, academic support, and workshops. Both groups devoted their February monthly meeting time to work with volunteers from the Office of Campus and Community writing to immerse themselves in poetry reading and writing, as they created their own Found Poems.

Found Poems are a type of poetry that draws from existing pieces of text (words and phrases from essays, novels, encyclopedia entries, news articles, even other poetry) and consists of arranging them on a page so they look like a poem. Like a collage or even a ransom note, Found Poetry lets the poet begin with the words of others but make those words their own.

The students from BrotherHOOD and SisterHOOD began by reading a selection of poems by classic and contemporary poets and songwriters of color, from Nikki Giovanni and Langston Hughes to 2Pac and Lauryn Hill. Next, they selected words and phrases that struck them as beautiful, interesting, or inspiring; then, they cut them out and arranged and rearranged them on a new page until they took the shape of a poem. As students worked—either alone or in teams—they used the words of others to create new meanings that applied to their own lives, thoughts, and experiences. As the event ended, students volunteered to read their newly crafted poems aloud, and we listened in wonder at how words and phrases arranged in new ways led to fresh images.

Their final products are both powerful and beautiful. We hope you enjoy reading the work from BrotherHOOD [PDF] and SisterHOOD [PDF] as much as we did. 

Read about our previous featured writers. If you have an idea for a future Featured Writers individual or group, please email Cathy Fleischer at cfleische@emich.edu.

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