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True Beauty: SAAM and Poetry

The month of April represents a number of things to many people. There is certainly a cause for celebration when you consider that it is Jazz Appreciation Month and National Kite Month. However, around here we have been thrilled to participate and recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I would highly encourage you to check out the CDC’s Thunderclap to Prevent Sexual Assault, as well as their Facebook Forum on Sexual Assault Prevention. In the library world we also celebrate National Poetry Month. So, not only does the NSVRC Library celebrate SAAM 2016 with the rest of the organization and those around the country and world, but we also celebrate National Poetry Month. That being said, I wanted to showcase a couple of excellent poetry resources held within our library perfect for this last week of the month, which would also be appropriate for SAAM as well.

“Giving Name to the Nameless:” Using Poetry as an Anti-Violence Intervention with Girls and Young Women by Mariame Kaba is a great resource put out through Project NIA. It is a curriculum resource that is meant to help folks as they engage with young women and girls in discussions about the impact of gender-based violence in their lives. Literature has been found as a great tool for helping young people address the things that they are or have gone through. Poetry in particular is a great way to address issues like sexuality, violence, and self-esteem. When individuals are able to see something in themselves through poetry, they identify with the work, reflect on it, and are able to experience emotional growth as a result of the reading experience. This can be used as a successful anti-violence intervention. The guide includes over 30 poems that address gender-based violence. As well as, tips and suggestions for those interested in facilitating poetry circles with girls and young women.
Love is Not Abuse: A Teen Dating Violence Prevention Curriculum by Liz Claiborne, Inc. is an excellent resource that consists of a step-by-step guide to teaching high school students about the issue of dating violence. With a blend of literature and poetry, the program provides teachers with the tools to teach about this very important subject. Lessons include, What is Dating Abuse?, The Pattern of Abuse in Dating Violence, Digital Abuse in Dating Violence, and Ending Teen Dating Abuse. The texts that are included in the curriculum offer many opportunities for students to craft their literary skills. They represent genres that include fiction, poetry, and autobiographical essays. The curriculum also includes video and multimedia resources to help deliver a teen voice to students. The curriculum is intended for Health or English/Language Arts classes.

One last great work I wanted to mention is Please Excuse this Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick. The book contains a cross section of American poetry, full of grit and love. It features one hundred young poets from diverse backgrounds and points of view. Their work has been included anywhere from the New York Times to Twitter. These poets tackle a variety of subjects from dealing with the aftermath of war, unpacking the meaning of “the rape joke,” and the tender moments included at the beginning of a love affair. The poets tell about the world as they see it.

I say this all the time, but I encourage everyone to check out these and all the other fabulous resources that the NSVRC Library has to offer. Not only do we have resources for SAAM and poetry month, but thousands of others to serve your advocacy and prevention needs for the rest of the year. I wish you all a fabulous week and day, as you continue to celebrate the awesomeness that is SAAM and the beauty that is poetry. Have a wonderful day and happy reading!


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