Posts Tagged ‘Brian Evans-Jones’

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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Awards Presented

May 25, 2017

Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Poet Brian Evans-Jones is a familiar name here at the Maine Arts Commission (MAC). He is member of the Teaching Artist roster and this past year he traveled to Washington county to provide workshops for students and teachers as part of MACs Poetry Out Loud rural school initiative. We learned this week that Brian and Maine fiction writer Joan Dempsey are recipients of the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. Congratulations to both of them! The prize includes an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, meetings with publishing professional, and a month-long residency.

The prestigious award, which aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement, has helped to launch the careers of Sue Monk Kidd (The Invention of Wings,The Secret Life of Bees), Elaine Beale (Another Life Altogether), Sandra Beasley (Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), Fae Myenne Ng(Bone), Mona Simpson (My Hollywood), and others.
Each year, Poets & Writers selects one state (or Washington, D.C.), and invites writers from that jurisdiction to apply for the Writers Exchange Award (WEX). For 2017, the state of Maine was chosen. This year’s judges were Tania James for fiction and Cynthia Cruz for poetry. Excerpts from the winning manuscripts can be found at at.pw.org/wexaward.
The Writers Exchange Award offers winners an unusual opportunity. Poets & Writers will ask Ms. Dempsey and Mr. Evans-Jones to identify agents, editors, authors, and others in the literary field that they would like to meet. Then, over the next several months, staff will work to arrange appointments with as many of these individuals as possible. In October, the two winners will travel to New York City, all expenses paid, and and representatives of Poets & Writers will accompany them on a round of visits to gain insight and advice and to establish professional contacts.

As a direct result of these meetings, past WEX winners have had their books published, received fellowships, secured teaching positions, and laid the groundwork for their professional lives as writers. To date, ninety-nine writers from thirty-nine states have participated.

Joan Dempsey – Photo credit: Greta Rybus

New England native Joan Dempsey received an MFA and teaching certificate in creative writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles. Her writing has been published in the Adirondack ReviewAlligator JuniperObsidian: Literature of the African Diaspora, and Plenitude Magazine, and aired on National Public Radio. Dempsey was the recipient of a significant research grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation for work on her novel, This Is How It Begins. She lives in Maine with her partner and their family of animals. Find her online at www.joandempsey.com.

Brian Evans-Jones – Photo credit: Michael Powers

Brian Evans-Jones immigrated to southern Maine from Hampshire, England, in 2014. He received his BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Warwick, U.K., and was poet laureate of Hampshire, U.K., in 2013-2014. He received his MFA from the University of New Hampshire in 2016. He is a juried teaching artist in both Maine and New Hampshire, and teaches poetry and creative writing in schools, colleges, and community venues in both states. Learn more about Brian at his website http://www.brianevansjones.com.

The judges also cited first runners-up Flavian Mark Lupinettifrom Orono (in fiction) and Julie Poitras Santos from Portland (in poetry), and second runners-up Kathleen Donkin from Gardiner (in fiction) and Judith Grey from Nobleboro (in poetry).

Poets & Writers will sponsor a reading and reception for Ms. Dempsey and Mr. Evans-Jones during their visit to New York. In addition, the winners will be offered a one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. A complete list of past winners can be found at at.pw.org/wexaward. The Writers Exchange Award is generously supported by Maureen Mahon Egen, a member of the Poets & Writers Board of Directors.  
If interested to learn more about Poets & Writers go to pw.org.
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Poetry Residency

April 27, 2017

South Berwick – Central School

This is being re-posted from http://www.brianevansjones.com/ with permission from Brian Evans-Jones. Brian can be reached at brian@brianevansjones.com

This week I finished the biggest project I’ve yet worked on as a teaching artist: teaching poetry to 80 second-graders at Central School in South Berwick, ME.

The residency spanned 11 days of teaching, plus an evening Showcase event, from the end of March to the middle of April. The aims were two-fold. First, to teach the second graders some important things about how to write poetry. But behind that, the goal was to use the writing of poetry to increase their overall confidence in themselves as writers and users of language.

Over the first 9 days, I helped them to draft 7 different poems using different tools. We started with group poems composed of lines beginning with repeated phrases. At this stage I introduced them to the idea of writing discrete sentences on strips of paper (Sentence Strips) which they then assembled into a poem, not only to make writing easier than starting with a blank page, but also to get them thinking about poetic lines. The Sentence Strips were also perfect for our first lessons in rewriting, when we added words to our Strips to make them more descriptive, thought hard about what order of Strips made the most sense, and looked at where we could insert new Strips to expand our ideas.

Here are some of those Strip poems in process:


We kept on using the sentence strips for poems built around verbs (an animal performing a mixture of real and impossible actions) and then metaphors (transforming an ordinary classroom object into many different things). Along the way we practiced using rhyme effectively. The last poem was a Personal Poem on a topic special to them, and this they wrote without the Strips. Finally, they chose their favorite poem for sharing, and worked on intensively on revising and editing it. The poems were shared with parents at the Celebration Night, when the students also worked with their parents to write new poems using some of the techniques they’d learned.

Here are just some of the poems and accompanying art, ready for display at the Showcase night.

As an extra bonus, one of the parents (Deb Cram) made a montage video of almost all the students reading a line or two from their poems, which you can view here. The poems will also be published in a chapbook along with student artwork, and there will soon be an after school Creative Writing group to help keep the writing going! Phew—now I understand why I was exhilarated and exhausted when we finished…

The residency was funded by the Marshwood Education Foundation, which funds projects in the Marshwood School District. We hope that the residency may have demonstrated sufficient value for the District to fund future annual second grade poetry residencies, although with budget issues everywhere, who knows what will happen.

As a teaching artist, this was a huge undertaking, working with a large group of fairly young writers for 12 consecutive days. I was tremendously conscious of how much the second grade teachers were giving me, trusting me with their students for so long, and allowing me to disrupt their well-oiled routines! From my point of view, the residency, while challenging at times (it was my first time managing classes with up to 40 second graders at once), was a great success. Not only did the students write very many wonderful poems, but the majority of them also enthusiastically grasped the idea of revising their writing, which is so important for their school writing careers. I know that several students who had struggled with literacy and writing produced poems that surprised and delighted their teachers and themselves. It’s too soon to say definitively whether the residency will have a significant long-term effect on the cohort’s performance as writers and users of language, but the signs are good. And the poems are great.

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In Today’s News

April 17, 2017

Poet Brian Evan-Jones

“I create a blur of color,” said one young poet.

Another student wrote, “I’m a shiny pearl, white and precious.”

“I remind you of the memories that have happened in the past,” a student wrote.

“It was as if I was saying I love you mom and dad with my eyes,” another young poet wrote.

Brian Evans-Jones

These are some of the lines that 2nd graders at Central School in South Berwick have written as part of an artist-in-residency with poet Brian Evans-Jones. Brian is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster and has created a program called “Literacy Through Poetry.” The residency at Central School was made possible through a grant from the Marshwood Education Foundation.

Deb Cram wrote the above for seacoastonline.com. You can view a video and read the rest of the article by CLICKING HERE. Thanks to Central School music educator Kate Smith for sending me the information to share!

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Poetry in Washington County

December 14, 2016

POL

As part of Maine’s Poetry Out Loud program the Maine Arts Commission provided a learning opportunity for teachers and students in Washington County. Teaching artist Brian Evans-Jones went from school to school spending a half day at each school including several classes. Brian is a member of the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster located at HERE. At each school Brian provided a slightly different program that fit the needs of the students from each school. Calais, Washington Memorial, and Narraguagus High Schools participated in this first time project.

machiasBrian used a variety of instructional techniques to guide students in their learning around poetry and writing. He recited his own and others poems and students responded by answering two questions: What happened in the poem and what were the emotions? Students picked up on the emotions of the poem and the specific moments and poetic techniques that conveyed  the feelings. Brian taught a method to memorize called “chaining”. One key word per line to memorize those first, and then each line one by one. Brian led students through ways to convey emotions using voice—pitch, volume, pauses, speed, emphasis— and asked them to try out different ways to convey the emotional “hot spots” of the poem.

With one group Brian focused on writing poetry. He asked them to write The down words and phrases that were linked with an activity they really enjoyed doing. First they wrote things they might use, then where, when, and with whom it happened, and lastly how it made them feel. These were all on small pieces of paper. Then on longer strips they wrote a few words to describe or follow on from each of the first set of words. Then they changed the sequence of what they’d written to make a poem. Brian left with everyone’s poems “shaping up to be lovely”.

Brian also taught a smaller class for interested students where they each made a short free write about a memory and then selected phrases from it to be the backbone of a poem.

calaisI’m sure that you can tell from the description that Brian’s time spent teaching and supporting poetry in Washington county was a success. The Maine Arts Commission is so glad that they received a small amount of additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for Poetry Out Loud this year to provide this opportunity. We’re looking forward to the feedback from students and teachers to get a clear picture of the impact.

There are 45 Maine high schools participating in Poetry Out Loud program. Each school has scheduled a school based program to determine who will represent them at the Northern or Southern Maine Regional Finals. The State Finals are taking place at Waterville Opera House on March 13, 3 p.m. and is open to the public at no cost.To learn more about the Poetry Out Loud program in Maine please CLICK HERE. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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