Past Event

To Feel the World as a Poem: A Youth Poetry Workshop

Many terrific poems create a certain magic where the language transforms a large thing into something small and personal or takes a small thing and expands it into something large and universal.

In this workshop, we’ll look at some examples of such magical poems (including poems by Gwendolyn Brooks); then, we’ll write our own poems, using our five senses, our memories, and our feelings. We will close the workshop by sharing our poems and look ahead to writing new ones.

Students will be invited to submit their poems to the Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards, a statewide youth poetry competition founded by Gwendolyn Brooks herself when she was Illinois’s poet laureate. Illinois Humanities has been proud to present the competition since 2017.

These workshops will be divided into two age groups: grades K-6 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and grades 7-12 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. They will be hosted at the Midwest Writing Center by Executive Director Ryan Collins. Food and drinks will be provided.

This event is free and open to students in grades K through 12, but space is limited. To attend, please register below.

About the Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards

This event is presented as a part of Illinois Humanities’ annual Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Awards. This annual youth poetry competition honors the legacy of Illinois’ own Gwendolyn Brooks: renowned poet, author, and the first Black Pulitzer Prize winner. Each and every one of the young poets who take part in this competition is a part of that legacy. Brooks summed up the contest best in a note in 1977: “All the children who entered the contest are winners… They worked hard. They created. And that is what is important.”

Learn more and submit a poem at