"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.




Friday, May 1, 2009

Society for the Advancement of Young Writers

Please take a few moments to read this guest posting from Lyman Feero...

A Statement of Need

The legacy of the Bush administration can be seen in the scars left on elementary schools across the country. So much focus is placed on assessment that many lesson plans can only make room for “teaching to the test.” Adopted assessment tools like “Six Traits of Writing” successfully teach the basics but whole portions of writing education are being lost.

Creative thinking is quickly being replaced by critical thinking. Essays rule over poems or stories. Teachers are frustrated by the lack of support for such programs as creative writing. Kids’ imaginations are evaporating under the pressure to meet state and federal testing standards.

If you’re a writer, think back to the first piece of creative work you published. Many of you were still in grade school when you saw your first byline. Remember that feeling? The founder of the Society for the Advancement of Young Writers (SAYW), Lyman Feero, certainly does. “In the Forest ,” one of his first poems, appeared in the pages of an anthology put out by the Young Author’s Society of Maine in 1979. That first acknowledgement in print in that anthology, has compelled him to write, publish magazines and become involved in the teaching of writing for the past 28 years.

SAYW seeks to give that level of inspiration to the young writers who are being abandoned by the need to meet standards. It’s not an easy journey due the pressures put on our teachers. Through SAYW’s programs, those pressures can be assuaged. Creative writing can return to the classroom and assessments will only improve. SAYW is developing a supplemental curriculum for creative writing that dovetails with current assessment writing programs. SAYW is also involved in a web publication for fourth, fifth and sixth graders (Kidlits Webzine) that will give children who wish to be published an opportunity to see that critical first byline every writer remembers.

Most importantly, SAYW is compiling a database of professional writers who are willing to help improve the schools in their local communities and perhaps their state. The database is intended to provide contact information so that schools and professional writers may join together in educational partnerships to inspire and support young writers. This contact information will serve as a free clearing house for teachers and administrators. The information required for this database is minimal as to preserve privacy.

This is an opportunity to make a difference to kids who may not have any contact with working writers otherwise. Often teachers are afraid to ask local writers for their time for workshops, lectures or simply a classroom visit. SAYW wants those teachers and administrators to feel comfortable contacting professional writers for those purposes.

Writers of all walks are needed. Poetry, nonfiction, fiction all need to be in the mix. Whether your genre is horror, romance, sonnet, haiku, spec articles or memoir, your experience as a writer is what matters most.

Please take the time to consider becoming a SAYW writer. There are no dues and your membership may lead to a child beginning a lifetime of creative fulfillment.

For more information on SAYW and its Professional Writer Outreach program please visit http://sayw.kidlitszine.com for further details on the philosophy behind this endeavor.

7 comments:

Lyman Feero said...

Thanks for helping to get the word out, Patrick.

Dawn Potter said...

Patrick--I checked out the website. Can you pass along my contacts to Lyman? I didn't quickly see a way to do that on the website. Thanks--

Lyman Feero said...

Dawn,

Sorry for the confusion. I'm having trouble creating a form that people can just plug information into. Every time I try to embed the code the format theme disappears.

I'll give it another go tomorrow. In the meantime you can send an e-mail to saywmember@kidlitszine.com with the following information.


Name:
State:
E-mail:
Geographic area you're willing to participate in:
Format: (e.g. fiction, poetry, nonfiction)
Genre you work in: (e.g. horror, frestyle, memoir)
Fee: (free, negotiable)

There's an autoresponder to let you know your information was received.

Sorry for the design glitch.

Sophie Littlefield said...

thanks p. it's nice to have a chance to be a good guy.

and you're dead on right about teaching writing in the schools. I know i'm his mom, but i think my kid has a strong and powerful voice, and he really sweats over his essays, and he gets c's and d's because he strays from the f'ing standards/checklists.

SOOOOO glad i wasn't raised in CA in the 'oughts. I wouldn't be writing today, because they would have convinced me I suck. Beat on a kid long enough, even if the stick you use is muffled by standards, and you'll beat the heart out of him or her.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

The words are all Lyman's, Sophie. For my part, I hope this thing takes off all over the country.

Lyman Feero said...

UPDATE:

There is now a basic registration form in place. I'll be updating the instructions on the website shortly. The form is available now under the SAYW Registration link.

Kieran Shea said...

Patrick:

Thanks for the info. Recently I've volunteered to help kids at my daughter's school with a start up advance reading and writing program. This looks great.