June 16, 2021

East Providence Resident & Gordon School 6th Grader Has Poetry Recognized Nationally


Louisa Flynn, an East Providence resident and a sixth grader at Gordon School was recognized nationally when words from a poem she wrote were chosen as one of 27 (among nearly 1,000 entries from across the country) by award-winning writer Kwame Alexander to be included in a poem commissioned by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial Center.

Louisa originally created the poem as an extra credit assignment for a Gordon class. Her words, included below, use water imagery that calls to mind the Civil Rights Memorial outside the SPLC in Montgomery. The poem was published online in April, and Alexander read it on NPR's Morning Edition on the morning after the Derek Chauvin verdict was announced.

Here is Louisa's original poem with lines selected by Kwame Alexander for inclusion in the poem A Civil Community:


If you counted every person
Who has ever stood up for the BLM movement,
You could fill an ocean.
Some people
Others waves.
They carry that boat
That heads into the horizon
The moon guiding it
To a new dawn.

About Kwame Alexander:

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 35 books, including SWING, BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI, co-authored with James Patterson, BOOKED, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and, his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he founded the publishing imprint VERSIFY, and opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of THE CROSSOVER TV series on Disney plus.

Gordon has an ongoing, but less formal, relationship with poet Kwame Alexander. He has stayed in touch with Gordon since coming to campus as the twelfth annual Karla Harry Visiting Author, and Head of School Noni Thomas López continues to work with Alexander on projects like last summer's How to Raise and Teach Anti-Racist Kids event.


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