I’m With the Banned—Celebrating, and Exercising, Our Freedom to Read and Write

I’m With the Banned—Celebrating, and Exercising, Our Freedom to Read and Write


September 9-October 6

The list of banned poets reads like the Who’s Who of Poetry: Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Federico García Lorca, Gwendolyn Brooks, Luis Valdes, Charles Baudelaire, and, yes, even Shel Silverstein.

In this four-week generative workshop, we’ll read them all, as well as Anna Akhmatova, who wrote underground to expose Stalin’s brutality and Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian national poet who was forced to live in exile and is still censored.

In their Freedom to Read Statement The American Library Association says: 

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack ... The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials. 

During our four weeks together, we will not curtail our expression. We’ll exercise our right to write, creating poems that honor the giants on whose shoulders we stand: men and women who refused to be silenced. 

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Teaching Artist


Kim Noriega

Kim was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where she loved apple trees in the spring, Hungarian nut roll at Christmas, the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge at dawn, and the West Side Market at 5:00 AM–when the Eastern European nagymamákshopped for the day’s meals, babushkas tied neatly beneath their chins. She moved to Southern California in her late 20’s (more or less on a dare) where she’s learned to love the subtle seasons, making salmon tamales at Christmas, and taking long beach walks in February.

She is the author of the book, Name Me,published by Fortunate Daughter Press, the title poem of which was a finalist for the Joy Harjo Prize in Poetry. Her poem, “Heaven, 1963″ was featured by former Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, in his nationally syndicated column, American Life in Poetry. She was a finalist for the 2016 Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize and the winner of the San Miguel Literary Sala’s 2017 Flash Nonfiction Prize.

Kim teaches writing to all ages in recovery homes and public libraries–most recently in conjunction with the Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual, Garden Oak Press, 2017.

She lives in San Diego with her husband, Ernie, and their daughter, Leiha, where she heads San Diego Public Library’s family literacy program. She was a finalist in 2017 for the Toyota National Family Teacher of the Year Award.