Earlier this semester, poet Patricia Smith joined us at Shortridge to read her powerful work and discuss her life as a mother, fighter, and writer. Patricia graciously offered to accompany the Writing In The Schools team following her appearance as part of the Butler University Visiting Writers’ Series. After checking out the storied halls of the famous Indianapolis institution, Patricia entertained and enlightened a group of about 40 students in Mrs. Tipton’s last period English class, many of whom chimed in with insightful questions in between moving readings of poems that spanned her career – from her early days as a spoken-word superstar to her turn as a literary darling with the publication of 2008’s Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award Finalist.

After the final bell rang signifying the end of the school day, Patricia was able to spend about 30 minutes with our Exclusive Ink group to start our after-school session before needing to leave for the airport. She recited her gritty poem “The Undertaker” from memory, leaving our students with a sterling example of how to make writing come alive, as well as a call to arms to rise above the temptations and troubles that often keep teenagers from reaching their full potential.

We thank Patricia greatly for reaching out to the students of Shortridge and for helping us to further the scope of our program. It was truly an unforgettable experience for all involved.