Feel These Words: Writing in the Lives of Urban Youth
Feel These Words is the story of nine young people from Chicago—Jig, Crazy, TeTe, Mekanism, Robbie, Marta, Patricia, Jose, and Dave—who regularly write poetry and/or song lyrics, but not for school. The Writers, as author Susan Weinstein calls them, are skilled in a variety of literacy-centered discourses through which they develop sophisticated understandings of core rhetorical issues and explore concepts of identity, social positioning, gender roles, and sexuality. Despite a deep engagement with imaginative composition, their work regularly goes unrecognized or is devalued due to the normative trends in standardized curricula and testing. Weinstein argues that this devaluation exists because their writing is informed by discourses that use language, forms, and styles different from—and at times at odds with—the mainstream. She explores the ways in which educators can focus not simply on what they believe kids need to be taught, but also on what makes them want to learn.
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