The following is a press release from the Franklin County Schools.
Louisburg, N. C. — At Terrell Lane Middle School, students are exploring their thoughts and feelings through poetry, thanks to visiting artist Phillip Shabazz. In the school’s media center, Shabazz is challenging middle school students to create thought-provoking prose that invites the class to share their experiences in new and exciting ways – challenging the boundaries often associated with poetry.
A critically acclaimed poet, Shabazz writes about issues of community and culture in America and expresses diverse points of view, from poems about the challenges faced by family and friends, to narratives that celebrate human possibilities. His style invites students to share their stories and at Terrell Lane, he’s asking students to call upon their own experiences and express them with their peers through poetry.
“Let’s talk about feeling, how does that stanza make you feel,” he asks an eighth grade group. “Who’s the waterfall? Can you tell me what a metaphor is – let’s say it together.”
Shabazz will be working with sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Terrell Lane throughout the week, but he isn’t a stranger to Franklin County, as he served as an artist in residency at Franklinton Middle School late last school year and even led a three-day poetry camp at Royal Elementary School over the summer.
According to the District’s AIG and Fine Arts coordinator, Danney Dailey, the residency wouldn’t be possible without the support of the local arts council.
“I would like to thank the Franklin County Arts Council for their generous support of Franklin County Schools and for funding new, exciting multicultural arts experiences for our students,” he said, noting that the organization has provided over $3,000 to support artist residencies in Franklin County Schools over the last year.
“Mr. Shabazz has a unique ability to connect with our students and he creates a safe environment for students to express themselves that I believe has a lasting impact,” says Dailey. “It’s always a great visit and we look forward to having him return to Franklin County.”