Artists Space

Art and Literacy: Poetry

Spanning asynchronous and synchronous writing sessions, ever-shifting social conditions, and ten poetry exercises across ten weeks, the eighth-grade poets of P.S. 140 along with Teaching Artist Rebecca Teich and Literary Arts staff John Vircillo forged expansive pathways for expression, understanding, and exploration. As a class, we read, free wrote, and discussed work by Trish Salah, What Would A Covid Doula Do Collective, Tommy Pico, Aldrin Valdez, Martin Wong, and more as weekly entry points of poetic inspiration. At the conclusion of the ten weeks students typically present their work to their peers in the auditorium at P.S. 140 in an event called YAP: Young Artists Perform. This year we had an online event called YAP: Poets on Poets in which young New York City poets recorded themselves reading P.S.140 student poetry.

-Rebecca Teich, Teaching Artist

Six sticky notes with black text on a white background. From the top left corner: "We want our voices to be heard, our pleads to be answered, our rights to be fully secured." is written on a yellow sticky note; "we want to be free" is written on a yellow sticky note; "we want to make this earth better," is written on a pink sticky note; "We want the earth to be clean," is written on a yellow sticky note; "we want everyone to be treated the same," is written on a blue sticky note; and "We want to relax," is written on a green sticky note.
“We want” Jamboard prompt for 8th grade students, 2021 [Six sticky notes with black text on a white background. From the top left corner: "We want our voices to be heard, our pleads to be answered, our rights to be fully secured." is written on a yellow sticky note; "we want to be free" is written on a yellow sticky note; "we want to make this earth better," is written on a pink sticky note; "We want the earth to be clean," is written on a yellow sticky note; "we want everyone to be treated the same," is written on a blue sticky note; and "We want to relax," is written on a green sticky note.]
Screenshot of a digital meeting. Each user has their own box, either filled with an image of their face, or a colored circle with a white letter corresponding to the first letter of their first name.
YAP: Poets on Poets online event May 2021 poems [Screenshot of a digital meeting. Each user has their own box, either filled with an image of their face, or a colored circle with a white letter corresponding to the first letter of their first name.]
Two people stand at the front of a full classroom in front of a projector screen that says, "Poetry workshop / Ms. Rebecca / Today
P.S. 140 student workshopping poems, 2019 [Two people stand at the front of a full classroom in front of a projector screen that says, "Poetry workshop / Ms. Rebecca / Today's task: create headline poems." One reads from a notebook, the other listens on.]
A hand holds up a lined notebook with a poem collaged from newspaper cutouts which says, "This is not normal what
Orchidary Siahaya, headline poem, 2019 [A hand holds up a lined notebook with a poem collaged from newspaper cutouts which says, "This is not normal what's at stake life,/ our lives death most people run/ to a sadness disbelief/ and play bloody/ fire."]
A monkey
Camilo Aquino, headline poem, 2019 [A monkey's head is pasted above a drawing of a suit with other pencil markings throughout the image on lined notebook paper. Below the figure is a collaged phrase from newspaper clippings that says "Monkey goes to Harvard."]
Eight people sit in a row on a wooden stage in front of a navy blue curtain. They are holding pieces of paper, one speaks into a microphone.
P.S. 140 students performing at YAP (Young Artists Perform), 2019 [Eight people sit in a row on a wooden stage in front of a navy blue curtain. They are holding pieces of paper, one speaks into a microphone.]

Untitled by Diana Nunez

I haven’t seen my best friend,
Since March 13, 2020,
The only time I got to see her was in October.
I haven’t seen my my family-
That’s in D.R. in 4 years.
I would write a letter to my cousin Leslie,
Because she was my first best friend.
Leslie is my cousin.


Untitled by Jazelle Vasquez

Could you possibly be here when we need you
Like a police officer needs a bulletproof vest
When the conversations are loud enough
I wish I was so carefree of the worries
As weird as I may be
It’s fun most of the time
But the words said are not important
Because you can just sneeze them all away
No matter how fake, toxic or vile a person can be
You can still celebrate those around you, who are pleasant and amazing
The food you eat can also be a sanctuary from the troubles
Or scream them out with an “Ahh!”
But most of the time, the comfort you receive
Can also come from a friend


The Real Lower East Side by Tiffany Thorne

Smile because you have feelings
The ave dosent define you or who you are
Stand Tall don't give in be and stay open-minded
So when you dance your November dance
You will feel this UNEXPECTED HATE
Inside you sleep you wake up cause your drawn to it like food
You wake up think about like wow but you dont you think it's just a dream
When you wake up all you hear is CALL YOUR LAWYER


Untitled by Jarissa Mercado

The sun,
The way it hides in the clouds,
Soar through the sky,
And sting in my eyes,
Invading my home with it’s light.

Let me compare you to a bright balloon,
You are more deadly, aesthetic, and stronger.
The bright sun heats the cement sidewalks of June,
And summer time has the whole of New York outside.

I love your hot, bright, sunny mornings,
Thinking of going outside and catching some sun,
All day, every day.

But now I must go inside,
See you another day.


Feelings by Edwin Romero

I like when you call but you never do
I never seen you before but it’s good to know I’m loved by someone
A tan is something you get when you hot so I guess you’re hot now
Instead of staying you run away why can’t you stay
You’re at the airport about to fly away like a little bird
I’m through with being fancy I’m not that type of person you made me
this way
And also comfort is something I had with you
Money is something I can’t save
A couch is something I sit on when I’m down
My favorite color is red that’s what I see when I’m mad
I wonder how my life would change
I don’t have time to think about to rewinding
I love being in middle my hands are full
I am a commander
And like my catch phrase I love you too
Turn to page 121 if you hate me


Linity by Eva Medina

derived man
wrong gender
feeling female
dangerous shooting
more evil
men and boys
are failing being men.


Untitled by Orchidary Siahaya

A lamp in the dreary little room
A cigarette
His cigarette
The love you worry about,
I black out
I remove the dark
I save the light
I was confident he’d leave the light
The gunshot
The Silence
I split the night
And out I went
Into the darkness I call light


Home Sweet Home by Ryan Azira

I’m happy I’m with my cousins sweet home, I haven’t been there in a while. We have fun, then next day school but I just don’t feel happy sometimes, but not all the times only when think of my Mexico I close my eyes and think of the mountains that I climb I think of the heat-ness.  I think of the rivers, my family then I see my friends and laugh. These memories make me happy and think there is another sweet home too that makes me happy to think about and want to visit.


Headline Poem by Ruby Rivera

No Way
Out from
The ghost
Of
Darkness


Famous by Eniya Alinzia

My feelings is like a roller coaster
I’m sad
I’m happy
I’m nervous
Which one should I be
There’s drama in my life
That makes it worse
Imma just let the haters be
There are people that like to talk about me
Am I that famous
What’s the reason for you to say things about me
When I say things back you tell the teacher You act all innocent
But you couldn’t fool me

I’m someone
I’m someone who is
Scared of what people think
Someone who is always nervous to talk
Someone who likes to dance but horrible at singing
I always laugh and smile when I want to
I’m someone who plays basketball but scared to join the team I’m scared to play in the game
Everyone watching i just freeze
You always have to be scared in life
Just to become the person you want
To be
I’m always scared
I’m always nervous
I’m always happy
But that’s what makes me…….me


Untitled by David Colon

1.
The world has changed
Society is broken
It’s like the beast in everyone has awoken
People being killed
People being pushed away
Homeless with no place to stay
People dying today
People getting killed in every way
Because there’s no change
Society’ doesn’t change cuz they think it’s strange People are suicidal because they’re not getting what’s vital Which is love and affection, but they got none
And now have depression.

2.
Erase me from the present
Erase me from the past
I don’t control my future
I’ll grow up with no cash
I’m a slave to people born richer than me
That’s why I will work
To support my friends and family


Fried Chicken

Seasoned to perfection
Tossed in that great
White flour
Oil on the pan
Pop
Pop
Popping
And when it comes out
It’s crispy golden brown
You can still taste the seasoning While you eat the chicken
You can hear the crumbs crunching In your mouth