"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." Salman Rushdie
Our mission is to provide educators with the resources necessary to create successful poetry programs in their schools. Through these after school programs, we seek to cultivate creative outlets, give young voices platforms on which to be heard, facilitate writing and performance workshops, create a sense of camaraderie between students of varying economic and social divides, and foster opportunities for these organizations to contribute back to their schools and communities.
poetryN.O.W. initially started as an after school poetry program at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Virginia in the fall of 2009. Brian James Hannon, an English teacher at Hayfield Secondary, and Joseph Green, a Forensics coach at the same school, collaborated to create a club whose intent was to improve the quality of students' poetry in regard to both writing and performance. In addition to creating a place that would hone both of those skills, they wanted to allow students to creatively articulate and express their feelings about their own lives and the world around them. Within several months, the club garnered a high level of interest among students of all grades, and Brian and Joseph found themselves working extensively with students after school on a consistent basis. The club became so popular, in fact, that it was able to host several hugely successful poetry events by the end of the year.
As a result of the program's success its first year at Hayfield, Joseph and Brian began reaching out to different schools in the area in hopes of co-collaboration. They quickly realized that there were a significant number of schools who were interested in developing poetry programs similar to the one established at Hayfield. The issue that many of these schools faced, however, was that they were a bit unsure as how to go about starting, and eventually running, a successful poetry organization within the school...
Thus, the inception of poetryN.O.W.
poetryN.O.W., formally established in 2010, is a Northern Virginia based organization that assists schools in developing their own poetry programs, programs that focus on creative writing and performance, but also on the use of the power of art and testimony to bridge the gap between students from all walks of life. poetryN.O.W. strives to be an effective partner for both the schools and teachers that choose to sponsor one of its programs, and the curriculum used in the program is in direct alignment with state educational standards and goals.
In the past two years, poetryN.O.W. has collaborated with numerous schools in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C., and is one of the organizers of the largest teen poetry competitions in the area, the Hyper Bole and Louder Than a Bomb. In 2015, the organization officially became a program under one of its long time collaborators, Split This Rock, a registered 501(c) (3) public charity. poetryN.O.W. continues to thrive and maintains its dedication and commitment towards all schools, teachers, and students involved in the program.