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The Care Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Published Poetry Journal

A Proud Tradition in Poetry and Publishing: The Care Center Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of a Poetry Journal by Teen Mothers

June 2013, Holyoke, MA — Earlier this month a group of students gathered in a third-floor classroom to begin selecting poetry and art to include in their school’s poetry journal. This in itself is not an uncommon scenario, but unlike literary journals at other schools, these students hope their publication will not only showcase their creative talents, but will also defy stereotypes about teen mothers living in struggling inner-city neighborhoods.

Now in its tenth year, what was once a fledgling publication, staple-bound and relatively unheard of, Nautilus II: Journal of Poetry and Art by Young Mothers Studying at The Care Center, has become something of an institution in Holyoke and beyond. It is registered with the US Library of Congress, and is carried in college libraries, and area bookstores. In addition, the journal was among the projects at The Care Center that were honored by the White House in November with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, issued by The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Each year another cadre of teen mothers is chosen to steer the publication of the school’s literary journal. During the 3-month production process these young women learn skills in editing, graphic design, public speaking and leadership, as they work together to create a perfect-bound journal, past editions of which have been endorsed by literary luminaries such as Mark Doty, Marilyn Nelson, Patricia Lee Lewis, Lesléa Newman, and Luis Alberto Urea, among others.

Annual publication of Nautilus II represents the culmination of each year’s poetry program, in which students study the works of classic and contemporary authors, and learn from visiting poets of national and international stature who visit the Center each year, such as Joy Harjo, Sharon Olds, and Naomi Shihab Nye.