By Outreach Coordinator Cilladean Hopkins
Amador County Poet Laureate Margaret Lewis spoke with staff member Cilladean about the Find Your Voice Poetry Workshops as they come to an end. Over the past six weeks Margaret has been working with local High School students in their poetry journey focusing on elements of self reflection, found poems, foundational vocab, and Poetry Out Loud Competition preparation.
Margaret says her favorite parts of the workshops was the opportunity to bring guest teachers and speakers and being able to provide a safe space for the students to express themselves. She expressed that she thinks of her work as an invitation into the artform that gives people a way to dialogue through the written word as opposed to teaching.
Since Margaret was six years old, she has been writing poetry. Her poetry consists of free verse, stream of consciousness, and rhyming and is a way for her to process the heaviness of work with homeless youth and life itself. When asked about her role as Poet Laureate she said she uses it to “elevate poetry in the community, as a balancing act for civil discourse, and to elevate youth, LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC people by putting them on the center stage and sharing their words when they are not there.”
Margaret is grateful to have been a part of the Find Your Voice Workshops and was excited to see the culmination of all the pieces of the workshop at the Open Mic that happened on November 1st. She said that if she had had an opportunity to take free poetry workshops when she was younger it would have given her an opportunity to grow and have the freedom to explore mental health and emotional intelligence as a writer and youth.
This year, the Amador County Poetry Out Loud program includes the Find your Voice Workshops, an Original Logo Competition, the Kat Everitt Original Poem Competition, and the Poetry Out Loud Recitation Competition. All of these programs are funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. For more information on these programs email email@example.com, or text/call (209)256-8166.