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Sarabande Writing Labs At Americana Community Center

We're excited to announce that our next round of Sarabande Writing Labs will be held in partnership with Americana Community Center, an organization in Louisville's South End that provides a spectrum of services to the diverse individuals and families of the Metro Area, including refugees, immigrants, and those born in the U.S.

Over the next six weeks, Kentucky authors, slam poets, activists, and educators will lead a workshop series with teenagers participating in the Americana's Summer Youth Program. Poetry workshops will enable students to cultivate performance techniques, while emphasizing themes of home, history, and injustice through reflections on identity and personal experience.

The workshop series launches today with performances by three members of Young Poets of Louisville, an organization by and for young people ages 13-19 to develop themselves through the written and spoken expression of poetry. Mackenzie Berry, founder and executive director of YPL, will discuss community opportunities for young poets and will perform an original poem alongside fellow poets Auzzie Dodson and Jalen Posey. 


Mackenzie Berry is a 2016 graduate of Manual High School and Founder & Executive Director of Young Poets of Louisville, As an alumnus of the Governor’s School for the Arts and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, she organized and won the Louisville Youth Philanthropy Council’s first ever Poetic Philanthropy Youth Slam held at the 21c Museum in May 2015. She was the Poet Laureate of Thrivals 8.0 of the Louisville Idea Festival and has been featured on NPR through a segment on Young Poets of Louisville. She will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a First Wave Scholar. 


Auzzie Dodson is a Louisville native high school student who’s always had a love for writing. However, she has developed a passion for it through poetry over the last few years, and with the help of the Governor’s School for the Arts and Young Poets of Louisville, she has been able to branch out into the Louisville art community. Her goal is not to be the best, but to relate, foster awareness of social and personal trials, and encourage people to voice their ideas through art. 

Jalen Posey is a rising junior at Central High School and began writing seriously at the age of 14. Jalen has many high aspirations in life which include becoming a lawyer, an author, and a poet laureate. 

The workshop series will culminate in a handcrafted anthology of student writing and a spoken word performance at Americana Community Center in late July. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to meet our lineup of fantastic teachers as well as writing from the students themselves.

Sarabande Writing Labs is an arts education initiative created by Louisville-based nonprofit publisher, Sarabande Books. This program reinforces Sarabande's mission to connect new audiences with literature by reaching out to under-resourced communities through free writing workshops and literary events. Learn more and get involved!