Houston poets respond to the Uvalde school shooting

A woman and girl embrace at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas / Photo by Billy Calzada, San Antonio Express-News

In the wake of yesterday’s horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and 2 teachers, poet and activist Amanda Gorman responded with a short verse that trails off, capturing a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety:

Gorman, a former National Youth Poet Laureate known for writing and performing President Biden’s Inauguration Poem, also condemned gun violence in a series of tweets and urged the public on Instagram to take action toward greater gun safety.

Amidst national mourning as the names of victims were released into the night, Houston poets began writing and sharing poems on social media to process their anger and grief, to reach out to the community, and to create conversation or prompt action.

Bruno Ríos, an educator, Latin American literature scholar, and founder of Books & Bikes, wrote the poem “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT”:

Ebony Stewart, an international performance artist, activist, and author of BloodFresh and Home.Girl.Hood, shared her poem-in-progress, “Untitled in 4 Parts”:

Aris Kian, 2022 winner of the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing, tweeted her poem “In Texas We Pop Prayers Like Pills”:

2022 Texas State Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez shared a poem that he wrote in the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting, “When I Hear That They Want To Let Teachers Carry Guns”:

Information on fundraisers and blood drives to help the Uvalde community is available here and here.

Just last month, playwrights and theater companies across the country, including Houston-based Mildred’s Umbrella Theater, also rallied together in an effort to raise awareness about gun violence through #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a national reading of plays by high school students.

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