W E L C O M E ! ! !

Welcome to the website of the T-Plus Poets, where we’re documenting the great creative work of a dozen students from Minneapolis Transition Plus program who were involved in a music & poetry residency with neighborhood theatre artists.  To learn more about this project, please check out our ABOUT section here.

The following posts include photos, poetry and soon, audio and video from sessions we had in the Spring of 2015. WE’LL BE UPDATING AND ADDING CONTENT TO NEW AND EXISTING POSTS THROUGHOUT THE FIRST COUPLE WEEKS OF SEPTEMBER, SO PLEASE KEEP CHECKING BACK!

More poetry, photos, video and AUDIO of great creative work done by the class being posted soon soon soon!!!

“Graduation Is Fun”

Yesterday, hundreds of people gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center to attend the Transition Plus graduation ceremony, and honor the students who are completing their time with the Minneapolis Public Schools this year.

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It was a fun, engaging, moving and very welcoming graduation ceremony.  Family members and friends were ecstatic as their loved ones crossed the stage to receive certificates and congratulations from the interim Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, and other officials.

Before all of that, though, one of the students in our residency rose to read “My Future Glory”,  a poem we all wrote together collaboratively.

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HE DELIVERED!  It was beautiful and people loved it.  I spoke with his parents afterwards, who said that…he hadn’t told them he was going to be reading it. It also wasn’t listed in the program, so it was a complete surprise for them.   What was no surprise to me was his wonderful performance, or the power of the words he shared.  Art Matters!

He walked the aisle along with three other students from our residency, completing their time with Transition Plus.  A few other students were there to cheer them on.

It was a beautiful day.

Here’s a track from a couple weeks back, when we started jamming on a line from the poem:

Graduation Is Fun

https://soundcloud.com/t-plus-poets/graduation-is-fun

Exciting News! – Poetry Playing a Role

Next Monday is Graduation. A few students in our residency will be completing their time @ T-Plus, and walking down the aisle in front of family and friends. And… Patricia said that one of them, T, will be reading our poem onstage as part of the ceremony. We wrote the poem, “My Future Glory”, collaboratively on our second day of residency back in April; it arose from our conversation and writing about what students were reaching for and working on. This is exciting! EditedPoemImage

Postcards – Out the Door!

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Yesterday afternoon, I picked up the postcards @ 1pm from Carlson Printing, about 15 blocks north on Chicago at Franklin Avenue.

I then brought them over to T-Plus.  Students and staff really dug them!

By 2:15pm, we were divided into three groups of staff and students, to pound the pavement and engage with people at local stores and organizations.

By 3pm, students had visited ten different businesses, dropping off most of the 500 cards. (Still got a small stack remaining)

Thanks go to:

Blue Ox Coffee Company
Cafe’ SouthSide
Covet Consign and Design
Cup Foods
Jakeenos
Modern Times Cafe’
Pillsbury House + Theatre
Steven Be
Smoke In The Pit BBQ
Southside Food & Deli

With a special shout-out of gratitude to Cafe’ Southside for the use of their awesome outside wall as backdrop for photo above, and to the staff of Blue Ox Coffee shop for graciously hooking up a bunch of us with water on a very hot day.

Share!

Our final class was May 13th. But Students decided that they wanted to share some of the great work they’d been doing all Spring, and so…  during class time on May 20th, another class of students at T-Plus, as well as some friends whom students invited and some people from Pillsbury House involved in Arts on Chicago joined us in the auditorium at 2:30pm.

We shared with them some of the great work we’ve been doing –

– a great game of Flock of Birds

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-students read three poems they’d written collaboratively during our fourth class,

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– then we had a musical jam, led by one of the students, riffing off the melodies and rhythms we’d come up with during our session, all inspired by the poem we’d written: “My Future Glory”.

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-Lastly, we invited whomever wanted to join us to come up on stage or get involved from the house. We passed out instruments, and had a full-on musical jam with all who wanted to play.

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Including some freestyling with dance and with the words of our poem.

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It was a blast.

In addition to photos, we’ll be adding some video from the Sharing soon.

Class # 4 – Gospel Singing at a point on the Ocean Blue

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Gospel Singing at a point on the Ocean blue

Listening to music on my pink phone

With Dancing Dogs in Sunny Miami

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Garden Is My Paradise

Garden is my Paradise

People surrounding you everyday

Always helping you find something to say

I set the life of collecting and warmth

Honesty, standing belief creating a defense, POWER

Power, the red glowin’ underwater bedroom

That you do everything to do nothing to get.

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Being Nice

Being Nice at the park and being at a store

Food; Cash

Love; Math

Take a Shower – Looking Good! Or in the clouds being clean

Being Happy; time by myself

Refreshed outdoors

Outer Space Goals

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Class # 3 – The Sounds and Smells of Happy Life

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Today, Anton led a conversation about HOME.

As writing prompt for the day, students wrote down sounds and smells that remind them of their home and of the neighborhoods they live in, and the one here on Chicago Ave where T-Plus is located.

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It was an interesting conversation that went in a lot of directions.  Sounds and smells are powerful, and can certainly please or upset us.

The Poem:

The Sounds + Smells of Happy Life

Muted dishes, television + creaky floor boards

Birds chirping through sweet air

Living with the rhythm of the ocean

Under a big hot rainbow

Dashing Cat Scratches at the window

My home is buttery popcorn

Cinnamon swirl

Pepperoni Pizza Chicago Style

Excited Pink Green houses of family

My people, close cabin people

Chicago Avenue

Students talking everything

-and their own dirt digging

Powderhorn ducks on the lake

Geese following me back on the scene

Where school is my kind of stuff.

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Before our poem conversation, we got up on our feet with a movement exercise called FLOCK OF BIRDS.

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People moving through the space as a group, taking turns to form statues one-by-one, in relationship with the statues made by the players before you.  Music is playing and affects how we move through the space and partly informs the statues we make.

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People were taking really bold individual choices and working together at the same time to form some beautiful statues.

We had an awesome flow going through the whole exercise.

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After class, the three teaching artists were talking amongst ourselves and we all agreed – this group of students will take on anything artistic you throw at them.  They are hungry and ready to go.  It’s exciting.

Class # 2 – PAINT THE FEELINGS OUT!

In Class # 2, we asked the following writing prompt:

What are you reaching for? What are you working on?

The conversation that followed was just stunning.

Here’s the poem we all collaboratively wrote together:

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The full words are here:

My Future Glory

 

Graduate

Make New Worlds

Credit by Credit

Story by Story

To empathize with others –

HAPPY!

We gotta mix it all together

Like a music video with

the Sun shining Bright!

My very own place

Bright blue like my emotional side

Paint those feelings out

C H I L L

C’mon in, and Welcome

To independence

Real Jobbin’ it, Full-Smilin’ it

Right Girl green like

New grown grass

My own family

And my goals yet unseen

Biking to friends yet unmet

The idea-building, world-bettering,

Future Self.

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