Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Poem for Black History Month

This month as I work with students in schools across the upstate, I am helping them to write their own poetry as well as sharing this tribute poem about the inspirational Dr. Mae Jemison.

I wrote this poem in celebration of the Endeavor Shuttle mission of Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in space.  I admire Mae Jemison especially because she is a woman who started life in a small town, but she had a big impact on the world.

I think anyone who is from a small town can relate to feelings of not feeling like you can do or accomplish certain things because of your background. But Dr. Jemsion shows us that small town folks can have a big impact on culture and history.

This poem is written from the point of view of Mae Jemison, and it merges the factual details of her life with my own poetic imagination. This poem is the first in a series of poems about famous Americans aimed at middle grades students.


Mae Jemison Counts Down Aboard the 1992 Endeavor Shuttle




My blood pumps itself to a distant planet.
My brain is a supernova. My skin is a million stars.
The orange straps across my suit are bright as a fire.
I’m thinking of Grandmother, the swish, swish, swish

of her broom on that Alabama porch, the hot grits
bubbling on the stove, the smell of biscuits and bacon.
On an autumn evening, we’d slowly launch ourselves
in the swing, our feet rising across the pumpkin moon.

The year of my birth, 1956, Alabama still called segregation
separate but equal. My school teacher mama wanted more.
Her and daddy moved us to blue Chicago
to spirit, to hope, to zeal, to inspiration.

Grandmother’s tiny Alabama dreams never imagined 127 orbits
of the Earth.  Mission control is counting slowly down
and this Endeavor will shoot me into history
like a blazing star. What new horizons will I find

in a thousands years of blackness. The earth
and all its heavy history fall. I float, an impossible
dream, a black woman in a white NASA Suit,
an Alabama child with the whole world in her hands.


#blackhistorymonth #ya #youngadult #middlegrades #teaching #maejemsion #poem #poetry

I recently performed this poem for the students, teachers, and parents at the Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition in Spartanburg, SC at Spartanburg Community College. Sponsored by Hub City.





*Mae Jemison was not interviewed in regards to this poem, so the details of what she may have been thinking about while she waited to launch into space are wholly from my imagination. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Working with students and teachers at Woodmont Middle School!

I'm excited to be working at Woodmont Middle School this week. Today I am providing professional development and later this week, I will be working with 6th and 7th grade!

Join me on social media!
Instagram: @kimberlysimmspoet
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TextileMillPoetry/
Twitter: @witsendpoetry

I have a new book of history based poetry that addresses the textile mill era, both the nostalgia for the tight knit communities and awareness for the sometimes harsh conditions after the turn of the twentieth century.


6th Grade: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5Y1hFc0NRZWxvQ2c/view?usp=sharing

7th Grade Team 2: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5NVZremFXYjVidzQ/view?usp=sharing

POEMS FOR AFTERSCHOOL
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_Cl9pjnWKO5TGlhc3JveWpaVzg
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5VW9Db1VxMzQ0VFU/view?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5aEVhNXpxQmtGejQ/view?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5NnJqbENmQl9sMUE/view?usp=sharing



6th/7th Grade PD:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5bHAxWVdXZTY5Q28/view?usp=sharing

7th Grade Landscape Poems.
Don't forget to warm up those creative minds with a brain break!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Cl9pjnWKO5LWZ5emZwZllSSmM/view?usp=sharing

Monday, January 30, 2017

Forthcoming Poems

We are excited to announce that Kimberly Simms has several poems forthcoming in journals and magazines! Simms also received a Pushcart Nomination!

Also expect a full length poetry book from Simms later this year from a traditional press! Lindy Lee: Songs on Mill Hill is the working title for these history based poems, some nostalgic for those tight-knit textile communities, other poems exploring the hardships on families pre-World War II. I would love for you to sign-up for my author e-mail list for notification of the launch party and book! http://eepurl.com/cyZhsv


Aji Magazine will publish "The Shortness of Summer" and "The Ugly Jug" in their Spring 2017 edition. Aji  hopes to spark passion for literature and art by offering previously unpublished works of established and emerging artists, work that celebrates contemporary experience and engages readers and viewers globally. New issues are published bi-annually, every spring and fall.  
http://www.ajimagazine.com/

The Broad River Review will publish "Lost Stand of Daffodils" in 2017. 



Ampersand Magazine awarded Simms' poem "Golden Spears" an Honorable Mention for poetry.  "Borrowed Relief" and "Lunch with Ivan at the Superior Kebab House" will also appear in the 2017 edition.

The Petigru Review nominated Simms' poem "The Black Country Balti" for a 2018 Pushcart Prize in poetry. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

21 Day Gratitude Poetry Challenge

Start 2017 with some poetry prompts to inspire your heart! The challenge runs between January 6th and February 6th with prompts coming each weekday on Twitter @witsendpoetry or on Facebook @witsendpoetry.





Sample Challenge

Gratitude Challenge #6. Write a poem that pays tribute to an inspirational person in your life. Maybe your mother inspired you to follow a dream. Or maybe a well known celebrity inspired you to take life in a new direction.

#gratitudechallenge #inspiration#poetrychallenge #poetrycommunity www.kimberlysimms.com #yeahthatgreenville



Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Readings, Workshops, and School Visits

January 4, 17-20 2017. SMART Arts Poetry Unit in Communications at League Academy. As part of this unit students will write tribute poems and participate in a poetry slam!
January 5 2017. Carolina High School Senior English classes in Greenville, SC.
January 17, 2017. Poetry Pendleton features poet Kimberly Simms. This event is sponsored by Wits End Poetry and the Humanities Council of SC. Join Kimberly and host/organizer Robert Lee Kendrick at Viva! Il Vino Winebar at 168 Exchange Streeet Pedleton SC.
January 21 2017. Poetry Out Loud Judge and Performer 2 to 4. Regional Competition. Hub City Press.  Spartanburg Community College, Spartanburg, SC.
January 25. 12-3 pm Professional Development Facilitator for Greenville Middle Academy staff in SMARTArts Arts Integration program.
January 26-28 2017. SMART Arts Poetry Unit in Communications at League Academy. As part of this unit students will write tribute poems and participate in a poetry slam!
January 29, 2017. Poetry Slam Co-Host at Say What Open Mic. Coffee Underground.7:30. 1 East Coffee Street. Greenville, SC.
February 7, 2017. Art Amok Slam invited performer. 8pm. Red Light Cafe. Atlanta GA.
February 6 - 10, 2017. SmartArts Residency at Tigerville Elementary and Mountain View Elementary.
February 14 - 17. SCAC Residency at Woodmont Middle including teacher PD and classroom visits.
February 20, 2017. Spartanburg Methodist College Themed Poetry Reading for English & History 102 Classes.
February 21 - 28, 2017. SmartArts Residency at Tigerville Elementary and Mountain View Elementary.
March  1-3, 2017. Arts Integration Unit with Music and Poetry. Tigerville Elementary.
March 31, 2017. Arts Day at Grey Court Elementary School. 9 - 11 am TBC.
April 8th, 2017. Poetry Workshop and Poetry Slam Performance with Peace Voices at Ramsaur Studio sponsored by the Peace Center. 1:00 pm Workshop 4:00 pm Performance.
April 10th, 2017. Monday Night Poetry & Jazz. Featured Reader. East Bay Meeting House. 8pm. Charleston, SC.
April 11th, 2017. "Talking to Disaster: Finding Healing through Poetry" program led by Kimberly Simms and sponsored by the SC Humanities and the Pat Conroy Literary Center. Beaufort, SC. http://www.patconroyliterarycenter.org/
April 20th, 2017. Poetry Workshop and Poetry Slam at High School. Final details to be announced soon.
BIOGRAPHY
Kimberly Simms is the 2016 Carl Sandburg National Historic Site Writer-in-Residence. She started her poetry career running the first Poetry Slam in South Carolina. She went on to become a Southern Fried Poetry Slam Champion, a National Poetry Slam 'Legend of the South' and a certified slammaster. Today, she continues to walk the line between the stage and the page. She has been featured on TEDX, Turner South, BBC4, and SCETV's Your Day.  Her work has appeared in The Asheville Poetry Review, Aji Magazine, The Millennium Sampler of SC Poetry, Poem, The South Carolina Poetry Review, Eclipse, and many more. She has received poetry awards from Kakalak, the York County Arts Council, The South Carolina Poetry Society, and more. Simms has been nominated for a 2018 Pushcart prize. Her work is included in the South Carolina Poetry Archives at Furman University. She is a native of Greenville, South Carolina. She currently lives in the mountains of South Carolina.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Poetry Slam at League Academy

On December 13, 2017 I was excited to host poetry slams for the creative writing students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades (5 classes) at League Academy in Greenville, SC with teacher Allison Franke.

We  had a wonderful unit where students each developed their own original poem that utilized poetic devices and was drawn on their own personal experiences. As part of this unit, I led workshops with students to help them develop an idea that they turned into a poem with craft lessons on imagery, figurative language, and line breaks. We also spent a little on time on public speaking techniques. It was a great 8 day residency!

Pictures coming soon!!!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Upcoming Shows with Kimberly

Check out these upcoming Poetry Events!

November 6. Sunday 7:30 Java Monkey Speaks Feature Poet: Kimberly Simms
425 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030
Kimberly Simms is an award winning poet, performer, and writer as well as an arts integration expert.  She is the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence, a National Poetry Slam Legend of the South, a TedX Speaker, and a Southern Fried Champion.

November 20, 2016. Sunday. 7:30. Featured host and emcee of Say What Open Mic sponsored by Wits End Poetry.

November 27, 2016. Sunday Toys for Tots Fundraiser at Seven Stages in Atlanta, GA. 

December 2-13. Poetry Slam Residency at League Academy. Greenville, SC.

January 2017. High School Visits TBD in Greenville, SC.

January 4 - 26 2017. Poetry Unit in Communications Class at League Academy

January 17, 2017. Poetry Pendleton features poet Kimberly Simms. This event is sponsored by Wits End Poetry and the Humanities Council of SC. Join Kimberly and host/organizer Robert Lee Kendrick at Viva! Il Vino Winebar at 168 Exchange Streeet Pedleton SC.

January 21 2017. Poetry Out Loud Judge and Performer. Regional Competition. Hub City Press. Spartanburg, SC.



January 29, 2017. Poetry Slam Host at Say What Open Mic. Coffee Underground.7:30. 1 East Coffee Street. Greenville, SC.


January 2017. Arts Integration Unit with Poetry and Communications. League Academy. Greenville, SC. Smart Arts Sponsored by Metropolitan Arts Council.


January 2017. Arts Integration Unit with Music and Poetry. Tigerville Elementary. Greenville, SC.

April 8th, 2017. Poetry Workshop and Poetry Slam Performance with Peace Voices at Ramsaur Studio sponsored by the Peace Center. 1:00 pm Workshop 4:00 pm Performance.

April 20th, 2017. Poetry Workshop and Poetry Slam at High School. Final details to be announced soon.