CYC Students Place in Dyer Ives Poetry Competition!

It’s a happy day in the CYC, folks! In the annual Dyer Ives Poetry Competition, your favorite local creative youth center had a huge presence in the Elementary Division. The competition was judged by the incredible poets Oliver de la Paz and the newest poet laureate of Grand Rapids, Marcel “Fable” Price, in case you needed any more convincing of the talent of our writers!

Here are the results:

Qyliyah – 2nd place for “Black Women are Our Guardians”

Oliver de la Paz: “And indeed they are—the poem serves as an incantation and an affirmation of community as the speaker declares that they ‘. . .  are powerful, . . .’ and that they ‘stand together/as a whole . . .’ This is a wonderfully uplifting poem that insists on the power of the collective and on the beauty of voices in a choir.”

Willa – 3rd place for “I Am”

Oliver de la Paz: “I adore this catalog of selfhood, full of ‘trench coats/ spy notes, pink ladies,/ talent shows. . .’ Immediately I was brought back to the times that were both idyllic yet fraught with real dangers and real hurts. The poet deftly navigates both joy and pain as we remember the dance and we remember the friends but we also remember those moments when it hurt to be. ”

Ja’Nesha – Honorable Mention for “This is Who I Am”

Marcel “Fable” Price: “The poem “This is who I am” is a refreshing reclamation of self. It is a brilliant example of why the young people of today are our future of tomorrow. This individual sprinkled Grand Rapids all over the page, and also all of the things that make them beautiful. The black girl magic radiates off of the page, and into your heart. Beautiful.”

These writers are invited to read their poems at the 2017 Awards Reading which will be held during the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts on Saturday, June 3 at 1 pm at the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Ryerson Auditorium. In addition, these poems will be published in Voices 2017, an annual literary publication that will debut at the Awards Reading.

WE’RE SO PROUD of these young women and all of our students at the CYC!

I know what you’re thinking: Where are the poems? Good news! You have two opportunities approaching to claim your own copies. Since these poems were originally created for the Spoken Word Poetry collaboration with Triumph Music Academy, they will be included on the album released at our celebration (Brewery Vivant, 7 pm, May 22). The poems will be included in our annual Book of Explosions publication. The release party for the book takes place on May 31st, 5:30pm, at Wealthy Theater.

Story Slam features true narratives of Grand Rapidians

“A story is like a black box, and you’re going to put the reader in there. She’s going to spend some time with this thing you’ve made, and when she comes out, what’s going to have happened to her in there is something astonishing. It feels like the curtain’s been pulled back, and she’s gotten a glimpse into a deeper truth. As a story writer, that’s not as easy as it sounds.”

This comes from the wisdom of George Saunders, one of the greatest writers in the contemporary fiction scene. Saunders discusses Story and how to tell it well in his video from The Atlantic‘s site. At the CYC, we believe in the power of Story–which is why we can’t wait for our Story Slam. If you haven’t heard of this event by now, Facebook has all the details. What you need to know is that on Tuesday, April 18, your fellow Grand Rapidians will assemble at The Pyramid Scheme to share true, personal stories from their lives.

This event will feature the true, brief narratives of our fellow Grand Rapidians; we have a mix of humor, heartbreak, and humility among these storytellers. It will be judged by a panel of local celebrities. On top of that, The Pyramid Scheme will host (so it’s a 21+ event). If you’re wondering what kinds of narratives you’re going to hear on Tuesday, April 18, we’re providing a taste of it here.

We have a variety of stories that promise to astonish you in myriad ways. Evan describes “First and Final Fight” as “a story from the world’s worst bouncer in the days following 9/11.” In Danielle’s story, “Backpedaling,” we’ll hear about a five year old drowning in a mill pond and the lasting effects of that experience on the survivor’s life. Nate will tell the story of helping his friend score the drug that was taking over his life and the adventures that ensued–a story of addiction, and the dangers of pre-judgment.

We invite you to step into that “black box” George Saunders describes. And whatever the stories you hear, whoever the storyteller, we are confident you’ll see that curtain pulled back. We’re offering a chance for a glimpse of the deeper truth, and we look forward to experiencing that with you.

To finish with another quote by Saunders: “I think a good story is one that says…we’re both human beings. We’re stuck in this crazy situation called Life that we don’t really understand…Can we put our heads together and confer about it?”

That’s just what we intend to do.