I was in the first poetry workshop at my school...I have been writing poems for many years now and I finally have a chance for them to be heard and I thank Amanda and Parachute Literary Arts for that.
- Gavrielle, Coney Island teen poet
Parachute Literary Arts designs, develops, and facilitates creative writing workshops in Coney Island. Parachute's writing workshops include exposure to multicultural authors reflective of the diverse ethnic urban terrain in which we live today. We offer the opportunity to engage teenagers and (adults) with reading and writing independently outside of school curriculum. Parachute offers free afternoon workshops for all ages during the Parachute Festival and partners with local not-for profits, schools and community groups to offer creative writing workshops throughout the rest of the year, such as Rachel Carson High School, YWCA-NYC, and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Poetry workshop leaders have included published Brooklyn writers Amber Atiya, Patricia Spears Jones, Cara Benson, Lynn Melnick, Emily XYZ, and Gary Glazner of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project.
From 2011 to 2013, Parachute Literary Arts partnered with the YWCA Teen Girls Empowerment Program at Rachel Carson High School to create a weekly after-school poetry group. Working with young women, the writing workshop was very instrumental in helping these girls develop their voices, self confidence and a deeper sense of identity and self-confidence. Poetry and self-expression provided an engaging artistic outlet for teenage students to process not only their daily experiences but also the aftermath and trauma of Hurricane Sandy. The girls' group created an online magazine featuring student work, Teenage Fever.
The poetry workshop also helped to expose students to different types of poetry than those they have encountered in school classrooms: from local to international poets including: Latasha Diggs, Diane DiPrima, Frank O' Hara and even the French Surrealist Guillaume Apollinaire.
Parachute Literary Arts conducted a successful crowd-sourcing book drive for poetry books . The initiative received over 200 books from poets, small presses and publishers all over the nation. Individual authors sent their books inscribed with thoughful notes for Coney Island teenagers. Publishers sent boxes overflowing with books. (You can read more about the project on our "Poetry Library" page.)
Spring 2014 launched Parachute Literary Art's partnership with NYCHA's Surfside Gardens. Brooklyn poet, and author of If I Should Say I Have Hope, Lynn Melnick led a weekly drop-in poetry workshop at the NYCHA "Teen Lounge."
If you would like Parachute Literary Arts to lead poetry workshops at your facility, please contact us.
Selected Poems from Parachute Poetry Workshops