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Shamil Ross of Derenne Middle School reads his work at the last Deep Speaks. Photo by Lief Carlson

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Deep Center: Writing out loud Nonprofit encourages words on the page —and onstage

“It’s more responsibility because it’s not as structured,” says Imani thoughtfully. “I really have to manage my time and stay IMANI MUHAMMAD has been comfocused.” fortable with a pen in her hand since she Imani has written several poems with was little. Deep Center, including “One and Only,” “Instead of watching TV, I would sit which was inspired by a prompt about a down and write stories,” says the Charles Cinderella horror story. She’ll be one of Ellis eighth grader. 39 students reading their work out loud at It helps that her mother, a teacher and lit- Deep Speaks this Monday, Feb. 2. eracy coach, gave her a writing exercise every The Deep Speaks events happen twice day for years to prime her imagination. a year to launch the newest volumes of the “She would tell me to write a haiku about center’s published stories, culled from the the weather, or something on the news,” best of each student’s work throughout the laughs Imani. semester. Four versions of the books are “It’s definitely helped me in school.” published, each one representing schools Her mom’s daily literary tasks also helped from south, west, east and central Savanher when she signed up for Deep Center, nah, and three students from each school are the non-profit creative writing program chosen by their peers to represent on stage that holds afterschool sessions in 13 public based on their “originality and fearlessness.” middle schools around Chatham County. It’s the first Deep Speaks event for Deep Students meet weekly with facilitators called Center executive director Dare Dukes, who “fellows” who provide prompts and encour- joined the organization last September. age honest, emotional writing, which can be After a successful fall fundraiser that shatchallenging compared to straight-forward tered organizational records, he’s excited for school assignments. audiences and benefactors to see what he’s By Jessica Leigh Lebos

Profile for Connect Savannah

Connect Savannah January 28, 2015  

Connect Savannah January 28, 2015