PA Humanities engaged children from five Philadelphia neighborhoods in a hands-on community poetry activity facilitated by local poets and Youth Poets Laureate. Haiku created by students grades 1-5 are being installed in public spaces by Tiny WPA with a special rain-activated solution. They are inspired by the theme, “What helps you keep growing?”
All it takes is a splash of water for the poems to sprout up all around as if by magic.
Rain Poetry transforms everyday spaces into opportunities to engage with the humanities — and fosters learning, conversation, and community stewardship along the way.
Under the guidance of past and present Philadelphia Youth Poets Laureate and other poets-in-residence, workshops were held in schools and afterschool programs in high need neighborhoods. The workshops teach children that the humanities are an exciting means of imaginative self-expression that builds meaningful relationships and can make change in their neighborhoods. They also got to flex their social emotional learning skills as they collaborated with mentors and community members.
Kicking off during National Poetry Month in April 2023, Tiny WPA began installing 8-10 of the poems in each of the five neighborhoods. The water-sensitive haiku will be repeatedly activated over the next two months anytime it rains. A reveal party and community celebration takes place in each neighborhood, and features poetry performances, music, and interactive poetry/art making.
Rain Poetry celebration and book launch event for program partners and community members. Features poetry reading and talks by local poets, Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureates (including Oyewumi Oyeniyi), and Philadelphia youth.
Attendees receive a copy of the PA Humanities published book “What Helps You Keep Growing?” — a special collection of haiku written by students from five Philadelphia neighborhoods.