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Human mother beasts
Tales from the young souls in Southton

“Rid the streets of the poet / to whom the doors are locked.”

There is a wise dicho in Spanish: Cada cabeza es un mundo. Every individual is unique in this world.
When Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities asked me to facilitate and teach a poetry writing class last fall, I was humbled to be part of this innovative program that sends professional writers into diverse settings to work with teens to develop their own unique voices through oral traditions, reading, and creative writing. The workshop was open to incarcerated youth at the Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile Correctional Treatment Center, a residential program for adjudicated Bexar County offenders known to generations of San Antonio youth as Southton. In the 1950s its residents included a teenage Fred Gomez Carrasco; today, most of its young offenders, ages 12-17, face charges ranging from possession and assault to robbery and truancy. The average length of stay is nine months to a year.
Yo Soy — I Am was a four-month poetry workshop. The dozen residents selected to participate in the workshop, mostly young men, came from Mexican-American and African-American backgrounds, from San Antonio and a few from post-Katrina New Orleans...
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