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ARTS

MLK Day Poetry Workshop Imagines a More Just World

MLK Day Poetry Workshop Imagines a More Just World

MLK Day Poetry Workshop Imagines a More Just World

KATE CHOU ’25

Arts Editor

January 18, 2024

Kate Chou '25 and Aaliyah Wang '25

Following the theme of “Restoration & the Dream,” ms. janan alexandra, instructor in English, who spells her name in lowercase and goes by “ms. janan,” led a poetry workshop on Martin Luther King Jr Day entitled, “Another World is Possible: Creative Writing as a Practice of Political Action and Abolition.” 


According to the workshop’s description, it was intended to guide students in exploring “their capacity to imagine and create a better world, through reading and writing poetry.” Ms. janan said, “Poetry is more than an art form with which we create beauty and articulate experience. It is also a political tool of direct action that allows us to re-envision what our world looks like, removed from injustices.” 


Ms. janan encouraged students to identify the aspects of society that remain broken, recognizing that Dr. King’s dream has not yet been achieved. Students read the work of contemporary poets Franny Choi, Safi a Elhillo, and Roger Reeves. Ms. janan mapped out police violence across the country and shared abolitionist visions to encourage participants to imagine a more just world, echoing the day’s theme of “Restoration & the Dream.” 


Students listened to a recording of Ms. Choi reading aloud her poem, “Field Trip to the Museum of Human History.” The poem served as a springboard for students to reflect on and write about the new world they would like to bring into being as activists. Ms. janan said, “Thinking about the things that these writers are talking about will, I hope, give us space to defamiliarize ourselves with the world that we live in and accept as normal and really ask ourselves, ‘Does it have to be this way? What are some alternatives?” 


Ms. janan said, “I hope that the participants in the workshop felt emotional residence and connection to their own agency in the world. It can be overwhelming to learn about painful ongoing histories. However, these stories are also empowering, because we all have a stake in creating a world in which everyone cares for each other. We are all capable of influencing those around us to build more kind, generous, caring, and sustainable futures,” ms. janan added.

Kate Chou is an arts editor for The Record.

February 1st

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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