Young Poets Lead Library Festivities

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbralyn A. Woodson, Times-Union staff writer

Emanuel Washington led a small army of young poets to the Bradham Brooks branch library Wednesday to celebrate Teen Read Week with the Jacksonville Public Library system.

Featured poet Ashlei Moore, 14, of Andrew Jackson High School, teamed with Lawanda Shiloh, 14, Brittany Turner, 14, Cyndriel Hammonds, 14, Jacquelyn Yulee, 13, and Charles Walker, 11, all of Horizons Unlimited Academy on Pearl Street and members of the Phoenix Club, a group of young artists at that school.

There is an unbreakable bond between poetry and reading, said Washington, who heads Nokturnal Escape Entertainment, which promotes local poets.

"To write poetry, you must always study experiences, whether they're your own or others' experiences," he said. "By pulling from reading, you are able to bring a greater perspective to your poetry."

Two of the poems shared by Moore were Five Years to Life, a discussion of her life after high school, and When It Hits Home, which deals with the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center.

"We need to have an outlet for young people to share what they are learning, besides taking tests," Washington said. "We have to get them outside the classroom. We have to get them speaking. This is their opportunity to express themselves. And this is only the beginning."

THE ABYSS

Northsider Rachelle Bivins is digging a deep hole for herself.

Bivens, 32, recently celebrated the first anniversary of The Abyss, her forum for lovers of jazz, R&B hip hop and neo-soul (a fusion of R&B and jazz).

And it's everything its title suggests, she said.

"It's immeasurable. …