Envisioning a New Future: Iconoclast Students Debut Poetry Anthology March 4

Date Posted: 2/25/2016

Help teens flourish as published and public poets by attending the March 4 event at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, or by purchasing their first anthology entitled “They Say.”

Ever considered the logistics and positives of “improbable friendships?” On March 4, inner city students, families, teachers, administrators, artistic sorts and city officials will be gathering together to celebrate student-authored poetry. In recent months the Iconoclast program has been nurturing this “new community” which provides a unique sense of support and encouragement for almost 200 students from five of Houston’s public schools and two juvenile detention centers. This poetry program, partially sponsored by St. Paul’s UMC, Houston and the Texas Conference Center for Missional Excellence, is experiencing life-changing success by teaching students to express themselves in positive ways. Iconoclast is one of the programs of ProjectCURATE (Center for Urban Reconciliation and Theological Education) which exists to facilitate new expressions of kinship, compassion and solidarity that fosters inclusive diversity. So far, Iconoclast is a promising strategy to block the school-to-prison pipeline that often haunts impoverished students who miss school and often get tangled up in a downward spiral.

“This diverse group looks like Houston,” says Rev. Matt Russell, senior associate pastor at St. Paul’s who is more than excited about the March 4

“They Say” event marking the debut of the students’ first poetry anthology. ”I am most excited about having a prominent venue that is creating space to hear voices that we often ignore or choose not to listen to in our city,” he shares.  “This new community crosses boundaries between people that would likely never meet, so I am excited about watching how these students’ poetry might open doors to their future!”

While many of these students struggle with grades and negative behavior, they are finding a sense of belonging, empowerment and new ways of addressing their personal experiences through poetry. “The goal of the Iconoclast program is to help them imagine a new future and then create definitive pathways towards new possibilities,” Matt shares.

Investing in the Young
Everyone is invited to attend March 4 book debut at 7 pm at the Museum of Fine Art, 1001 Bissonnett. The Houston Youth Poet Laureate Andrew White will open the evening, then Robin Davidson, Houston Poet Laureate will talk. The evening then will spotlight 10 of the Iconoclast student poets as they perform their pieces. “The call to action,” Matt adds, “is to come and hear these students, participate in their future, buy a book and invest in their lives!” Preview several of the student poems via the videos featured in this recent article: https://medium.com/@kasorrell/can-poetry-block-the-school-to-prison-pipeline-c3f569375219#.jz1qwtsyt

Event details are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Iconoclastsessions/?ref=hl

The sale of the book goes to an educational fund for the students, they will be giving autographs. You can buy the book at the MFA book store, at St. Paul’s, and online at: http://www.amazon.com/They-Say-Matthew-H-Russell/dp/1938633717/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455745242&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=they+say+iconoclast+poets