Although altered by COVID-19, the Parkmont Poetry Festival continued in 2021 and nine Workshop students were semifinalists. Four of them were winners. In fact, they were the only students from regular neighborhood DC public schools to win. Congratulations to DeMarco Randolph for “The Real Me,” Rahnell Jordan for “Hood,” Atrayu Lee for “My Imagination,” and Naquan Shepherd for “Staying Young Forever.”
While schools are closed for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Workshop is delivering its lessons online, mostly through Instagram but also via Facebook, texts and emails. Over the months, we have built quite an audience. Come visit us at https://www.instagram.com/secondsnax/.
While the schools are closed, the Workshop will continue to provide resources and services online. During the first half of 2020, we did this via email, Facebook and Instagram. We were able to keep our writing community together and connected. Many participated and some excellent poetry was written by our students.
The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop was formed in early 2000, so 2020 is our 20th anniversary! We held a 20th Anniversary Gala on February 25 at the Anacostia Busboys & Poets. Along with readings and performances from students and Writers-in-Residence, we presented awards to Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White for his longtime support for youth programs and to well-known D.C. poet and arts educator Kenneth Carroll who helped create our program years ago.
Workshop students won first place for 8th grade and honorable mentions for 6th, 7th and 8th grades in the Junior League of Washington Poetry Competition. Our students also won three awards in the Gabriela Mistral Youth Poetry Competition, second place for young adults and two honorable mentions for ages 14 to 16.