Horizons outreach program showcases parent and child poets

Wayne Richard watches as Dionne Naize offers her poetry

Horizons creative writing workshop hosted 35 parents and children from two South Side shelters at its yearly poetry showcase, held June 20 at Chicago’s Intuit gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Seven parents and three children shared their own poetry during a one-hour showcase. 

Residents from Primo Center for Women and Children and A Safe Haven South participated, led by Associate Director of Organizing Wayne Richard. Through Horizons, Wayne leads bi-weekly writing sessions for parents and older children at five family shelters.

“This is my first time reading my poetry, so I’m kind of nervous,” the evening’s first poet said, smiling. “So deal with it.”

Then, as her three children watched, Ms. Liddell recited several pieces. They included:

Sherwanna Liddell

“Maybe I try too hard to make a future for myself and my children… Maybe I’m tired of your labels, your countless lies… I’m trying to become someone who loves herself.”

Ms. Liddell’s older daughter, Sherwanna, 15, followed her mother on stage, sharing her poems “Life” and “Symbiosis.”

The audience later voted for their favorite poets. Through enthusiastic applause, they singled out Angelina Dunn as runner-up, with Dionne Naize the winner.

Mrs. Naize offered a poem, “Daddy’s Little Girl,” written after the recent death of her father:

Mrs. Naize is announced the winner, celebrated by Jaylen Jelkes, her son Denim Smith, Linda Moree, Charres Liddell and Sherwanna Liddell.

“As a little girl there were only stories of you… Our visits were few, but the love sure did last.”

Other participating poets were Candice Brow, Chris Jelkes and his son Jaylen, Linda Moree, Denim Smith, and Wendy Woods.

Booklets were published by Horizons featuring some of the poetry. Other work is featured online in our Horizons Reading Room.

Horizons is supported by longtime grants from the Seabury Foundation, with internship assistance by graduate students from Adler University. Our 2017 Adler intern was Lucy Gonzalez.

– Photos by Jeff Foy, story by Anne Bowhay