Local children attend AWP conference in D.C. for first time

Kelly Tunney

Four Northeast Ohio students will attend the Association of Writers and Writing Program’s annual conference this year held in Washington D.C from Feb. 2 to 5. This is the first time in the conference’s history that children were invited.

The four students worked with Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center in creating poems for the Traveling Stanzas project and the Speak Peace project.

The Glyphix design studio and the Wick Poetry Center collaborated to create the Traveling Stanzas that “traveled” around Kent and Akron via the Akron METRO and PARTA buses. The students also created poems to complement paintings by Vietnamese children for the Speak Peace project.

Camryn Parsons, fourth grader at Falcon Academy of Creative Arts; Brett Parsons, fifth grader at Falcon Academy; Essence Cain, fifth grader at Miller South School for Performing Arts and Jerry Robinson, senior at Saint Martin de Porres High School, will all read at the conference.

Camryn Parsons will read a line from the poem “Nature,” which was part of the Traveling Stanzas project. She will also participate in a panel discussion about her experience working with the Wick Poetry Center in creating the poems.

Her sister, Brett Parsons, will be one of several students to read from the poem “Night,” which was featured in the Center’s Speak Peace project.

David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center, said bringing students to the conference will be a great opportunity for both the students and adults attending the conference.

“Adult writers have a lot to gain from hearing the voices of child writers,” he said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Contact Kelly Tunney at [email protected].