Students express their lives in poetry

June 17, 2008 10:00:29 PM PDT
Some young Philadelphia poets are using their art for much more than just making rhyme. "What happens when you just can't think. Your mind goes blank and your thoughts just sink?"

It's something these six students never imagined would happen. Recording their poetry here in Center City for a CD of their work.

The students are part of a program that helps them channel their emotions and experiences through the powerful tool of poetry.

"The reason I started doing poetry is it helps me express my anger besides using violence, acting like a dummy," said Steven Williams of North Philadelphia.

15-year old Denise Williams writes about her childhood. "My mom being on drugs and stuff like that. Me growing up in one home with 7 kids and stuff like that."

17-year old Terrance Jones was shot just last week. He was not the intended target. He has put his fear and rage into words. "They didn't mean to shoot me, but I was there. Life in the 'hood is crazy. My poem is called, Life in the Hood."

The students recording all attend C-E-P--a school for at-risk children here in Hunting Park. These are some of the 2,000 children the non-profit "The Arts and Spirituality center, work with.

"We help children learn skills in literacy, express themselves, meet kids from other communities," said Cathy Cohen of the Arts and Spirituality Center.

The students also got to meet legendary music mogul Kenny Gamble. "Music and art--I mean, that is, in my opinion, the most important thing in a society."

These teenagers at this critical time in their lives are learning how to create it.

"So, listen up...I don't think you comprehend. In order to protect our future--my brother, now is the time for you to step up."