Voice Through Verse: Renée Watson on Poetry as Empowerment

NOV 29, 202234 MIN
The Reading Culture

Voice Through Verse: Renée Watson on Poetry as Empowerment

NOV 29, 202234 MIN


On Today's Show

  • "There's just something about literally raising your voice and letting these words come out of you. That's powerful." - Renée Watson

Maya Angelou was mute for six years. After a traumatizing childhood experience, the famous poet and activist retreated inward and lost her voice. In Renée Watson's kid-friendly but unflinching retelling of her story in "Maya's Song", Watson shows how poetry was the means to Maya finding her voice and going on to use it in unforgettable ways. That's the power of poetry. And that power is something that Renée is passionate about giving to kids.

From incorporating poetic elements in her stories to writing entire stories in verse, Renée utilizes poetry in her writing frequently. In this episode, she joins us to tell us more about how she came to believe in the power of poetry, how she makes it accessible to children, why she thinks it's so important for youth, and more.


Chapter 1 - Intro to Renée (1:39)
Chapter 2 - 1619 project (4:21)
Chapter 3 - Knoxville, Tennessee (9:33)
Chapter 4 - Telling Maya's Story (13:08)
Chapter 5 - Teaching Youth Poetry (18:34)
Chapter 6 - Music as a Gateway to Poetry (21:39)
Chapter 7 - Writing About Portland (26:23)
Chapter 8 - Sharing Joy With Ryan Hart (28:36)
Chapter 9 - Library visits (30:58)
Chapter 10 - Voice Through Voice (31:59)
Chapter 11 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (32:51)

This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Pat Toney, a Children's Services Librarian at Oakland Public Library in California. Pat provides us with a coming-of-age book recommendation for teens.