Independent Coast Observer
we are in time 2004



special to the ICO by Jo Rouse

we are time, an anthology of poems from the K-12 students of Mendocino County, is now available locally. Fresh off the digital printing press, this 92 page collection contains metaphors, similes, angst, insights and reflections from 150 Mendocino County Students, representing a wide range of voices and styles. In addition, both the front and back cover images are photographs taken by South Coast High School Students Heather Thompson (class of 2005) and Katie Eagleton (class of 2004).

Working under the auspices of California Poets In the Schools, Mendocino County, the poet teachers who led the exercises which generated the anthology's poems include Scott Meltsner, Dan Roberts, Karen Lewis, Chris Olander, Will Staple, Lasara Firefox, Blake More and the late Gerry Grace. Compiled during the 2003-04 school year, these poets offered poetry residencies to 27 county schools: Andersen Valley High School, Andersen Valley Middle School, Arena Elementary, Arena Middle School, Comptche School, Dana Grey School, Fort Bragg High School, Laytonville, Leggett High School, Leggett Middle School, Manchester School, Mendocino Community School, Mendocino Grammar, Mendocino High School, Mendocino Middle School, Pacific Community Charter High School, Pacific Community Charter School, Point Arena High School, Potter Valley High School, South Coast High School, South Valley High School, Ukiah High School, Willits High School, Yokayo Elementary. we are time was edited and designed by local poet Blake More, who also serves as Mendocino County Area Coordinator for California Poets In the Schools.

The California Poets in the Schools program began at San Francisco State University in 1964 as the Pegasus Project. Initially, the program placed poets in Bay Area classrooms for the purpose of reading poetry to children. Eventually, the program evolved to include the students' active participation in the writing process, and, in the mid-1970s, CPITS became a statewide organization. Today, CPITS is active in 29 counties from Humboldt to San Diego. Since 1987, CPITS has placed over 150 poets in more than 300 schools across the state each year, and it is estimated that a half million K-12 students have been introduced to creative writing by CPITS poets, with over 100,000 poems written each year by students in CPITS poetry workshops (some of the best are collected and published in local, regional and statewide anthologies).

California Poets in the Schools is now the largest writers-in-schools program in the nation. Yet despite its size, it is has maintained its roots in the diverse communities of California. Local Area Poet Coordinators administer the program in their counties, with a policy to place poets in schools in their own communities, often in their own immediate neighborhoods. All CPITS teachers must go through an application process and only accomplished, working writers are selected
for the program. CPITS poet teachers function as visiting teachers, working in conjunction with the primary classroom teachers. Class time is divided between reading, writing and sharing, and each lesson is designed to offer tools and skills that help kids combine their imagination, life experience, and special perceptions into poetry. Because they are "working poets", CPITS poet teachers serve as living models of what it means to commit one's life to imaginative language.

State and Federal budget cuts and size have caused a severe reduction in CPITS funding of local residencies, and MPITS is trying to raise some of its own funds for next year's county programs by selling we are time for $10 per copy. The project was made possible due to funding from the Mendocino County Office of Education, California Poets in the Schools, participating school site funds, individual donors, community organizations, local businesses, and the hard work of Mendocino County's poets, young and old.

we are time is available for purchase at Four Eyed Frog, the Dolphin, Everything Under the Sun, Point Arena CITYART, and the Point Arena Lighthouse; it can also be checked out from any of the county libraries, including the Coast Community Library. Ordering information can be found through the Mendocino Poets In the Schools website at



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