MENDOCINO Co., 1/28/22 — Poetry from Mendocino County students ranging from grades K – 12 from the 2020 -21 school year has now been collected and published in a new anthology, called I Am Everything: Mendocino County Youth Poetry Anthology 2020-2021. The anthology includes work that was produced with the Poets in Schools program, and was funded with support from the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE), the California Arts Council, and the Gets Arts in Schools Program.
Since the work featured in the anthology was created during the first school year of the Covid-19 pandemic, many students focused on their experience during that time. Local program administrator and poet Blake More noted in the press release, “Many of the poems inside this anthology express this longing for what was, yet also a call to try and turn our collective experience of ‘lockdowns’ into the creation of an even better world.”
The anthology is available to purchase here. Here’s the announcement from MCOE:
Mendocino County, CA – With funding from the Mendocino Office of Education (MCOE), the California Arts Council, Get Arts In the Schools Program (GASP), and California Poets In the Schools, an anthology of work from Mendocino County student poets was published in I Am Everything: Mendocino County Youth Poetry Anthology 2020-2021.
MCOE’s financial support enables local students to benefit from the Poets in the Schools program, a program that has served California students since 1964. The Poets in the Schools curriculum is offered to all Mendocino County high schools, and the program has provided opportunities for youth to perform their work publicly as well as to see their poems published and broadcast over the airwaves.
I Am Everything is the latest anthology of poetry written by K-12 students in Mendocino County. The poetry contained therein was generated during classroom poetry workshops taught by Mendocino poets working through California Poets in the Schools during the 2020-21 school year. In the anthology, poets as young as five years old express their feelings and describe their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Poet Blake More administers the program locally. She said, “Many of the poems inside this anthology express this longing for what was, yet also a call to try and turn our collective experience of ‘lockdowns’ into the creation of an even better world.”
Fifth-grade student Priscilla Fuentes wrote in her poem, Negativity and Positivity, “ I breathe in stress, I breathe out love, I breathe in being furious at not being able to leave my home, I breathe out happiness for having a home to live in.”
COVID-19 has prevented students from enjoying everyday experiences like riding the bus, socializing with friends, and learning from peers. Through its support of the California Poets in the Schools program, MCOE has provided students with an outlet to express how they cope with the stress and the frustrations of living in a quarantined world.
MCOE Superintendent of Schools Michele Hutchins interviewed More, who was recently named Mendocino County Arts Educator of the Year, on her KZYX radio show, Inside Education. The show features a discussion of the value of arts in the schools and a collection of poems written and read by students all over the county. The interview can be found on the MCOE website (www.mcoe.us) under Superintendent Blog and Radio Show.
I Am Everything was published on November 22, 2021 and is available to purchase on Amazon by searching for “I am everything poetry anthology.”
Hutchins noted that this program, and many others, help the Mendocino County Office of Education fulfill its purpose of providing leadership, resources, services, and programs to improve the educational experience and outcomes for Mendocino County students.