"In a tumultuous year of pandemic, societal polarization, war, climate crisis, and forced migration, we need these poems, these voices, now more than ever. It is fitting that the contributors have chosen to call their collection, The Voice of My Heart. As I sat drinking my coffee one morning, I began reading these poems and found my heart breaking for these brave young poets. Through the beautiful medicine of their poetry, I also found my heart restored. By their words of strength, and the generosity of spirit expressed in their work, I know that the future is in good hands. I encourage you to clear some space to sit and reflect on these poems and the courageous poets who penned them."--Rena Priest, WA State Poet Laureate, 2021-23
The Voice of My Heart: Unforgettable Memories in an Unforgettable Year, edited by Merna Ann Hecht, is the newest anthology from the Stories of Arrival: Refugee and Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project, which takes place at Foster High School, one of the most language- and ethnically diverse high schools in the U.S. The project was founded by Merna, a poet, social justice educator, and storyteller who serves as the project teaching artist and editor. It is co-directed and in partnership with Foster High School Multilingual Learner teacher Carrie Stradley, a National Board Certified teacher. It takes place in her classroom. This is the ninth anthology produced by the project. The powerful poems in this anthology give witness to the wrenching experiences of forced migration and immigration. These global youth voices also offer readers a deeper understanding of the courage that it takes to hold on to the dream for a brighter future and a more peaceful, humane world even as they address with candor and bravery the pressing issues of our times. The colorful artwork is student created and the poems give a wide lens to the ways these young people from seventeen different countries carry the memories of beloved people and places with them and the hope and wisdom they hold for peace in their homelands and in their new home.
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